Lower School Newsletter for December 8, 2019

This is such a wonderful time of the year as it reminds us to take a moment and give thanks for the many blessings in our lives and to pay it forward. NYA has been full of such moments as we collected mounds of food to bring to Preble Street and prepared gifts and donations for our Holiday Families. At this time of year, we also need to be prepared for all that mother nature might bring. While the winter weather brings many joys (skiing, sledding, and hot chocolate among them!), it can present a few challenges. As we move about the campus throughout the day and spend time playing outdoors, it is essential that everyone has the appropriate cold-weather gear to stay warm and dry. This is also the time to think about what happens when weather impacts our school day. Please take a moment to review the information on snow days which is outlined below. Let it snow! Let it snow! Let it snow!

With our winter break fast approaching, we hope that you have the opportunity to give thanks, delight in family and friends, and look forward to a bright new year ahead. We also wish to extend our thanks to you for entrusting your children to us and for offering us your support and collaboration.

Wishing you all a joyous holiday season and a happy new year!

Marissa Markonish
Head of Lower and Middle Schools


With the close of the Fall Semester, teachers will be sending out midyear reports to parents via email in early January. Parents of students in the Toddler and Primary classrooms will receive written class summaries and will be contacted later in the month to schedule observations in the classroom in February. Parents of students in Grades 1-4 will receive written progress reports accompanied by comments from each teacher.


Students in Primary through fourth grade will have some options for after school activities beginning in January. Each activity takes place from 3:15-4:15 p.m. Parents may pick up directly from the activity or students enrolled in After Care will be escorted back to the Lower School until pick-up. We ask that parents pack an extra snack for the children to eat before heading to their activities.

  • Chickpea Yoga will offer yoga classes incorporating mindfulness and movement specifically designed for children. The classes are open to students in Primary 1 through fourth grade. The activity will meet Wednesdays from January 15 until February 26 and will meet in the Middle School Community Room. Contact Sarah McDarby to register.
  • Brick By Brick Maine will offer LEGO Woodland Creatures for students in kindergarten through fourth grade on Thursday afternoons. The activity will run from January 16 until February 27 and will meet in Room 62 in the Middle School. Check here for additional information about the program and how to register.
  • Mad Science of Maine will offer Secret Agent Lab for students in kindergarten through fourth grade on Tuesday afternoons. The activity will run from January 21 until March 3 (no class on February 18) and will meet in Mertz 611. Check here for additional information about the program and how to register.


To help meet the needs of our families, we will offer the option of care from 8:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. on December 30 and 31 and January 2 and 3 during our winter break. This will be available to all Lower School students on a first-come, first-served basis, and will run only if a minimum number of students enroll. Care will be offered over the two weeks of March break as well. Rates for this care is $80/day. If you anticipate utilizing this service, please contact Leslie DurginThe deadline to sign up for care over winter break is Friday, December 13.


Each year, Mrs. Gallagher’s class participates in a special project for Camp Sunshine. They integrate the life cycle of plants into many of their fall studies, culminating with sunflowers. Students dissect sunflowers from the school garden and sort and count the seeds. After learning about “marketing” and making a product appealing for purchase, each student designs art for a seed packet and they use a blind vote to determine the art that will decorate the packages. The class then labels the packets, fills them with seeds, and sells them, with all proceeds donated to Camp Sunshine. They will sell packets for $1 each at Lower, Middle, and Upper School lunches on Thursday, December 12. Purchase Seeds of Sunshine and help support this worthy cause!


Our new literacy specialist, Margery Condon, has been delighted to work with our Lower School students throughout the fall. Learn more about the work she has been doing with students in this Message from Margery.


Thanks to donations and funds raised through our dress down days, we have been able to purchase household items, toys, gift cards, and more for our Holiday Families. We would welcome donations of gently used jackets, boots, snow gear, and warm clothes as well. Collection bins are located at the Main Office in the Upper School or at the reception desks in the Middle and Lower Schools. All items must be in by Wednesday, December 11. Thank you for your help in supporting this worthy cause!


sick-childIf your child is sick, please have them STAY HOME for the benefit of their health and the health of the school community. Indicators for staying home: vomiting or being too nauseated to eat breakfast; a throat so sore it hurts to swallow; a temperature of 100° or higher; incessant coughing or nose blowing; a pounding, blinding headache; utter exhaustion or aching all over. To return to school, the symptoms listed should be significantly decreased, if not resolved, AND the child should be fever free without use of Advil/Tylenol for 24 hours. If you are wondering whether you have a cold or the flu, please check here for additional information. A reminder that students are not permitted to possess any medication, over-the-counter or prescription, at school. If a student requires medication during school hours, please contact the school nurse. If you have questions or concerns, please contact Ashley Moody.


Because it is sometimes necessary to cancel or delay the start of a school day due to stormy conditions, we reach out to families in numerous ways during times of bad weather. Due to the variety of weather patterns, from Boothbay to Biddeford and from Bridgton to Brunswick, it may look like clear going in one town while another is “snowed under.”

The administration makes cancellation/late start decisions with student safety as a top consideration. If it has already or will soon stop snowing but the road crews have not been able to clear the streets, the administration may decide to delay the start of the school day. Buses will be delayed two hours in this instance. Cancellations or delays are posted first on Ben Jackson’s “Head of School” Instagram account– bjacksonnya_hos. A text alert and email notification are then sent out, and the information is posted on Facebook and Twitter. Additionally, cancellations are reported to channels 6, 8, 13, and NECN. At times, power outages can interfere with some of these methods of notification, so if you are uncertain, please check multiple sites.

In the event that snow arrives unexpectedly or earlier and/or heavier than predicted, the administration may decide to call for an early release from school. If this is the case, we will make every attempt to contact parents. The early release will be announced on local radio and television stations (if possible), will be sent out via text alert and email notification, and will be posted on social media. The school will remain open until all children can be safely picked up by parents or other authorized individuals.


With the change of seasons, it is important to dress children with the appropriate layers and clothing for outside play. Except in the case of extreme weather, students will be going outside. Warm coats, hats, mittens/gloves, snow pants, and boots are all essential items. Please be sure to label everything as children sometimes struggle to recognize their own items and many have identical gear. Also, please be sure to update extra back-up clothes for the season (shorts and a t-shirt can be difficult to wear in December!).


Do you have any old or outgrown snowshoes collecting dust somewhere? If so, pass them on to NYA! We are looking for snowshoes of all sizes to add to our current set for PE classes and other groups to utilize in exploring the great, wintry outdoors. We’d also love ice skates and helmets! Donated items can be dropped off at the Main Office in the Upper School or at the reception desks in the Middle and Lower Schools.


With the approach of winter, students in Kindergarten through fifth grade will soon begin the ice skating unit as part of their Physical Education class. It is such a treat for students to be able take advantage of NYA’s Travis Roy Ice Arena. See this informational letter from Zoe Adams and Marti Morton for additional information.

NYA GEAR SALENYA Sea Bag and other accessories

Looking to purchase some NYA logo gear for holiday gifts or to round out your wardrobe? You’re in luck! The NYA Parents’ Association will set up the school store in the Middle School Community Room on Friday, December 13 and Thursday, December 19 from 2:00-4:00 p.m. for holiday sales. You may also contact the store at NYAstore@nya.org to set up an appointment (drop off and pickup times work best). Items ordered online can take up to two weeks so please plan ahead!


The Lower School Arts Celebration will take place on Wednesday, March 4 at 2:30 p.m. in the gym (snow date = Thursday, March 5). Following the musical performance, parents and students will remain in the gym to enjoy the art show and brief reception. Mark your calendars now to join us for this special event!

FROM IAN RAMSEYMeditation Image

On Tuesday, January 14, Ian will host a meeting of the “Brain Trust” parents group at 6:30 p.m. in the Middle School Community Room. The group is a forum to discuss emerging brain and health science and its significance for children and adults. Upcoming Brain Trust meeting are February 19, March 25: Field Trip to Float Harder, and April 15. All are welcome.

On Wednesday, January 15, Ian will lead the monthly mindfulness session at 7:00 a.m. in the Middle School Community Room. No experience is necessary.  Upcoming mindfulness dates are February 12, April 15, and May 13.

Check out Ian’s most recent Brian Tips for Teens video. A new installment comes out next week.


12/11Dress Down Day for Animal Refuge League$3
12/11Middle School Evening with the Arts5:30 p.m.
12/12Seeds of Sunshine sold at lunch$1
12/13NYA Gear Sale, PSMS2:00-4:00 p.m.
12/15Student Performance, Maine Roasters Coffee, Yarmouth8:00 a.m.
12/17Upper School Winter Concert, NYA Gym6:30 p.m.
12/19Last day of Classes before Winter Break
12/19NYA Gear Sale, PSMS2:00-4:00 p.m.
12/19End of First Semester
12/20-1/3Winter BreakNO SCHOOL
1/6Classes resume; Second Semester begins


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