Lower School Newsletter for November 11, 2018

November is one of my favorite months of the year as it reminds us to take a moment and give thanks for the many blessings in our lives. NYA is full of such moments as we collect mounds of food to bring to Preble Street, bake pies for The Root Cellar, and prepare for our Holiday Families. With the Thanksgiving break coming soon, we hope you have the opportunity to give thanks, delight in family and friends, and bring renewed optimism and positive energy to your lives. We also wish to extend our thanks to you for entrusting your children to us and for offering us your support and collaboration.

At this time of year, we also need to remember that snow is likely just around the corner. 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!

Marissa Markonish
Head of Lower and Middle Schools


We are pleased to announce that Grace Gilbert will be joining Miss Kathi as Assistant Teacher in the Toddler B classroom. Grace graduated from NYA in 2013, earned her B.A. in History and Music from Dennison University, and is currently working toward her M.A. in Museum Studies from Johns Hopkins University. Grace has experience working with young children in a variety of capacities, including museum docent and educator, children’s activity coordinator, summer camp counselor, and farmyard educator. Grace’s brother Eli teaches in the Visual and Performing Arts Department in the Upper School. We are delighted to welcome Grace to the Lower School!


Lower School Drama is presenting Disney’s The Lion King KIDS. The students have been hard at work since September bringing the story of Simba, Scar, and all the animals to life. All students in grades one through four will participate in the production. The performance is on Wednesday, November 14, at 2:30 p.m. in Safford and is free and open to the public. Please note that parents of Toddler and Primary students will need to pick up children no later than 2:15 p.m. in order to attend the performance. We hope to see you there!


On Tuesday, November 13 at 6:30 p.m. in the Middle School Community Room, NYA looks forward to welcoming author and educator David Sobel for the third annual Kauffmann Lecture. David Sobel is a leading thinker and writer about place-based education and will give a dynamic talk about the importance of wild play in the great outdoors for children and families. The event is free and open to the public. David will also give a workshop on place-based educational strategies and ideas to faculty to NYA and area schools earlier that afternoon.

THANKSGIVING FEASTls-thanksgiving-2016-12-resize

On Friday, November 16, the Lower School students, faculty, and staff will join together for a Thanksgiving feast. Each of the classes will have a role in cooking and preparing for the meal. The children will also sing songs and listen to stories about this holiday. We look forward to this opportunity to come together as a community, rejoice, and give thanks.


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 select days during our school vacations. 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. This coverage will be offered select days over winter break and the two weeks of March break. 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 7.


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, and boots are all essential items. Snow pants will soon be vital. Please be certain to clearly label all items with your child’s name. 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!).


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 Braden Heal and Marti Morton for additional information. We would love some adult volunteers to assist the kindergarten and elementary classes while they skate. Please contact your child’s teacher to volunteer.

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 at the following times for holiday sales:

  • November 14, 2:00-4:00 p.m., Curtis front hall (Lower School Drama performance)
  • November 29, 7:30-9:30 a.m., Middle School (wreath and poinsettia pickup)
  • November 30, 2:15-6:15 p.m., Middle School (wreath and poinsettia pickup)
  • December 14, 1:30-3:30 p.m., Middle School (last day before winter break)

Free gift wrapping will be available at all events. Parents 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 2 weeks so please plan ahead!


Mark your calendars! The NYA Parents’ Association will host the Annual Holiday Craft Fair and Book Sale on Saturday, December 1, from 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m., in the gymnasium and Safford Center. This annual event is held in conjunction with a town-wide holiday celebration. Get a jump on your holiday shopping while browsing over seventy talented and unique vendors from across the state. Take a break from your shopping to enjoy a sit-down lunch at the NYA Café and listen to holiday music by the NYA Chorus!


Once again, the NYA library will be holding a used book sale at the NYA Craft Fair on Saturday, December 1. We would like your gently used books, and will accept books for ANY age, young children through adults. You may drop off your books in the NYA library or at the reception desks in the Lower and Middle Schools. Contact NYA librarian Eliot Grady with any questions. Thank you for your support!


Each year, NYA works throughout the fall to help provide some wish-list items for local families in need. For the past several years, we have teamed up with Molly McMahon, NYA class of 1995, daughter of Jack McMahon, former Middle School English teacher and sister of Tim McMahon ’93, Middle School art teacher. Molly works with immigrant families seeking asylum in the United States. While many of their needs include the basics, such as warm clothes, shoes, boots, pots and pans, dishes, etc., we are sure to also include toys and special gifts. The entire school community joins together for this great cause. We will be holding our final Dress Down Day for Holiday Families on Tuesday, November 27 ($3 donation).


Project Graduation’s Poinsettia Sale is now underway. Poinsettia Order Forms are available at each of the three school offices and on the NYA website. This fundraiser is an easy way to support the graduating Class of 2019! Please take a minute to place your order and help spread the word to friends, family, and local businesses. The deadline for orders is November 16, and poinsettias will be available for pick-up in the Middle School Community Room at NYA on November 29 and 30. If you have any questions, please contact Corinne Larson.


The NYA Parents’ Association Wreath Sale is the PA’s top fundraiser. Wreath Order Forms are available at each of the three school offices and on the NYA website. The mission of the Parents’ Association is to promote school spirit, foster community, and support and strengthen NYA through programming and volunteer participation. Proceeds from this sale will enable us to continue to award grants to faculty and students, host speakers, support faculty & staff appreciation, programming, and other division specific events, and much more. The deadline for orders is November 16, and wreaths will be available for pick-up in the Middle School Community Room at NYA on November 29 and 30.


NYA is offering a monthly guided mindfulness session open to everyone in the NYA community. The sessions are led by Ian Ramsey, who has a 20-year meditation practice. The sessions are scheduled from 7:00-7:30 a.m. on Wednesdays,  November 14 and December 12. No experience necessary, and beginners are welcome and encouraged. NYA is providing some meditation cushions, but participants are encouraged to bring a pillow to sit on if possible (or participants may sit on chairs if that is more comfortable). All are welcome!


11/12 Veterans Day NO SCHOOL
11/13 David Sobel Lecture, MSCR 6:30 p.m.
11/14 Guided Mindfulness, MSCR 7:00-7:30 a.m.
11/14 Lower School Drama Performance, Safford 2:30 p.m.
11/14 NYA Gear Sale, Curtis front hall 2:00-4:00 p.m.
11/16 Last day of classes before Thanksgiving Break
11/16 Lower School Thanksgiving Feast
11/16 Deadline for Poinsettia and Wreath Orders
11/19-11/23 Thanksgiving Break
11/26 Classes resume
11/27 Dress Down Day for Holiday Families $3
11/29-11/30 Poinsettia and Wreath Pick-Up, MSCR
11/29-11/30 NYA Gear Sale, PSMS
12/1 NYA Holiday Craft Fair
12/5 Middle School Evening with the Arts, NYA Gym 6:00 p.m.
12/6 Lower School Live 9:00-11:00 a.m.
12/7 Last Day to Sign Up for Winter Break Child Care
12/11 Upper School Winter Concert, NYA Gym 6:30 p.m.
12/12 Guided Mindfulness, MSCR 7:00-7:30 a.m.
12/14 NYA Gear Sale, PSMS 1:30-3:30 p.m.
12/14 Last day of Classes before Winter Break
12/14 End of First Semester
12/17-1/1 Winter Break NO SCHOOL
1/2 Classes resume; Second Semester begins


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