First Day School Annual Report 2018/2019:
We began this year of First Day School carrying forward the hope that if we built a children's program that the families would come. With experimentation we have had a beautiful response.
Over the school year, our First Day School lessons included the monthly themes of the following: nature seekers which explored mindfulness and environmental stewardship through the outdoors; Faith & Play storytelling about Quakerism and its values; and Philosophy Club, which introduced kids to clear thinking. Additionally we learned about sign language, weaving, music, art, and guided meditation. We also engaged in social action in learning about Marilla's Lunches, and collecting children's books for the Talbot Interfaith Shelter. Lastly and importantly, we continued the treasured Third Haven traditions of our annual Christmas Pageant, Easter Egg Hunt, Moving Up Ceremony, and wreath-making. Altogether we had 14 teachers from the Meeting leading these classes, and many more behind the scenes.
This year we also extended our programming beyond First Day with two weeks of Summer camp for children 4-10 and River's Edge Forest Play collaboration Tiny SPICES around Quaker testimonies to create an outdoor mindfulness class for children 0 to 3 years old and their caregivers. Conversation with the local homeschool umbrella, called the Peachblossom Learning Community, explored interest in a small Friends school.
Looking at the First Day School by the numbers, we have served children and families as follows:
- Held 1 open house for First Day School keynoted by PYM's Youth Education Coordinator, Melinda Wenner Bradley, that engaged 6 families.
- Held 41 First Day School lessons, with regular attendance of 8-10 children on Sundays—sometimes more, sometimes less.
- Hosted five 6-week sessions of Tiny SPICES on Friday mornings—serving 23 children and their families.
- Hosted 2 weeklong sessions of mindfulness nature camp, serving two groups of a dozen children each.
- Generated $2800 in revenue for the Meeting.
- Attracted interest in Third Haven by 25 new families, which we hope will bring us new faces in the fall.
Looking ahead we'd like to deepen our programs, and start to tailor to different age groups and abilities, especially late elementary to middle school and babies. Further, we look forward to hearing the Meeting's ideas through the upcoming master planning process for children's program expansion—especially the consideration of a small school which we feel is a natural next step in the growth of Third Haven's work to inspire the next generation of leaders in the Quaker community.
All of this is only possible because the Meeting makes it happen. Fellow committees have offered invaluable support, including Property and Grounds, Communications, Outreach, Pastoral Care, and Hospitality. In our community we have teachers, mentors, weavers, story tellers and keepers, photographers, helpers, snack and dessert dirt cup makers, builders, cheerleaders, gardeners, idea generators and challengers, philosophers, givers of supplies, carpenters, tool lenders, funders... and, importantly, sweet, well-timed voices of affirmation at just that moment when you're about to break because your child decides that Meeting for Worship is a perfect time to try out tap dancing. Our families are truly and deeply grateful for all you do to support them. Thank you.
Respectfully submitted on behalf of the First Day School Committee on June 16 by:
Amy Owsley, Co-Clerk; First Day School Members: Susan Claggett, Co-Clerk, Megan D'Arcy, Lisa Kleupfel, Kelly Lane, Dolores Wack
Supporters: Katie Theeke, Marie Leonard
The annual budget reflects and supports the growth of the youth and family programs.