Lower School Newsletter for October 14, 2018

The next few weeks will bring numerous special activities as well as some changes in routine here at NYA. The entire campus will celebrate Halloween with parades and festivities. There is no school on November 1 and 2 for Parent-Teacher Conferences and no school on Monday, November 12 for Veterans Day. By this point in the year, students have settled nicely into the routine of the school day, and we will work together to maintain that consistent routine here at school. However, these days off provide time for parents and teachers to come together and for families to have some quality family time before the rush of the upcoming holidays.

Parent-Teacher Conferences provide an important opportunity for parents and teachers to connect and build a strong school-home partnership in support of each student. Our youngest students may not yet be able to vocalize fully what is going on in the classroom each day, and parents often yearn to see and hear what is happening at school. These meetings allow for such insights. I encourage you to take advantage of this opportunity to meet with your child’s teacher to learn and share as much as you can. We thank you for taking time out of your busy schedules to come meet with us, and we look forward to collaborating with you.

Marissa Markonish
Head of Lower and Middle Schools


NYA LS Teacher LavertuWe are pleased to announce that Kelly Beth (KB) Lavertu has accepted the position as Lead Teacher in the Primary B classroom and Kindergarten Teacher for the 2018-2019 school year. KB earned her B.S. in Environmental Education from Unity College and her M.Ed. in Montessori Early Childhood Education from the University of Southern Maine. She also holds her American Montessori Society Certification and her Maine Teacher Certification of Young Children, Birth-Kindergarten. KB comes to us with experience teaching at both the toddler and primary levels in Montessori classrooms, most recently as the lead toddler teacher at Winfield Children’s House. KB’s two daughters will be joining the Toddler and Primary programs in our Lower School. The entire family is delighted to be joining the NYA community!


As part of Fire Safety Month, the Yarmouth Fire Department will be visiting NYA on Tuesday, October 16. The fire fighters will talk with the Primary and Elementary classes about fire prevention and awareness. The students will then have the chance to ask questions and explore one of the fire trucks. This annual event is an important safety reminder and loads of fun!


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 another Dress Down Day for Holiday Families on Wednesday, October 17 ($3 donation).


Tuesday, October 23 is Picture Day for our Toddler students as well as Picture Retake Day. Anyone who missed pictures on September 5 should plan on having photos taken. There is a $10 charge for those who would like to have a second sitting for photos on this day. Information on signing up for picture retakes was sent out directly to parents by Coffee Pond Photography. Please be sure to let Heidi Lathrop and your child’s teacher know if she/he plans to sit for a retake.


Nothing marks the fall season quite like the celebration of Halloween. This holiday has always been near and dear to the NYA community (perhaps because our colors are orange and black!), and we do it up in grand style. From pumpkin carving to costume parades, NYA takes this opportunity to have a brief respite from our usual routines and engage in some seasonal fun. The classroom teachers have planned numerous activities, and we have special events planned specifically for our Lower School students. Students wear costumes as part of the celebration, but we ask that they stay in keeping with the dress code – nothing too scary, no weapons of any kind (swords, guns, light sabers, etc.), no masks, etc. For our Primary students, animals (e.g. cat, dog, lion), careers (e.g. chef, doctor, firefighter), book characters, Halloween classics, and silly creations are all great choices. We look forward to celebrating together!


Representatives from the Chewonki Foundation will be coming to NYA on Halloween to do several sessions on Animal Adaptations: Survival in the Wild for the Lower School classes and the fifth grade. Student groups will join the Chewonki representative in the Middle School Community Room for an interactive presentation and chance to learn about adaptations, try on costumes, and meet the animals.


In addition to numerous classroom activities, the Lower School students will have a special costume parade through Curtis Building and Grizzy’s Quad. During the parade, they will receive cheers from some of the older students and pick up a few non-candy treats along the way. Later that afternoon at 2:00 p.m., the elementary students will join with the Middle and Upper School students for a parade and costume contest in the gym. While the younger students will not be attending as a class, parents of students in the Toddler and Primary programs are welcome to pick up their children early that day and join the festivities. This is a fun community event!





For the past several years, we have worked to support the Camp Sunshine Pumpkin Festival by carving pumpkins for their display. On Friday, October 19, Lower School classes will have the opportunity for some pumpkin carving fun! We will then deliver the pumpkins to the L.L. Bean campus in Freeport. If you are planning to visit the Pumpkin Festival on October 20, keep an eye out for our NYA jack-o’-lanterns!


Parent-Teacher Conferences are scheduled for Thursday, November 1 from 12:00 – 8:00 p.m. and Friday, November 2 from 8:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m. There will be no school on these two days. The conferences will be scheduled on the half hour and will run for approximately twenty to twenty-five minutes. This is a chance for parents to speak in depth with the classroom teachers about the start of the year and setting goals for the months ahead. Instructions for the sign-up process will be sent out soon. Please remember that sign-ups for conferences are on a first come, first served basis. Families seeking child care during their conference time slot will be able to sign up at the Lower School reception desk.

To make the most of these conferences, come in ready to ask questions about all aspects of your child’s involvement in the classroom: What areas and concepts seem to interest him most? What are some of his greatest strengths in the classroom? What areas are most challenging for him? How is her attention, ability to focus, perseverance, and effort? Is she able to follow directions independently? Does she appear to be meeting developmental milestones? Are there any areas of concern or potential concern that should be monitored or assessed? Does he seem to enjoy his specials? Is there any activity which he finds especially pleasing? How does he do with snacks and lunch? Does he seem particularly tired or energetic at various times throughout the day? How does she interact with her peers? Does she appear comfortable with her classmates? What goals would you suggest for her?

At the same time, come in ready to share your insights on what you see, hear, and observe about your child in relation to the class, NYA, and her world in general. Share any strategies that have been helpful to your child and let teachers know your insights on what might work best for him. Ask what you can do better support your child in her learning. Ask if there are things that you should not be doing. Approach these conferences as a team supporting one another and working toward the common goal of meeting the needs of your child. We look forward to meeting with you!


To call in for attendance, please contact Heidi Lathrop at 846-9051 before 8:15 a.m. You may also contact your child’s classroom teacher via email if desired.


A reminder to parents to please label your child’s clothing and outwear. This becomes especially important as the children have additional layers for chillier temperatures. Clothing without a label frequently lands in the Lost and Found. With the change in seasons, it is also time to re-stock the extra clothing bins (for Toddler and Primary parents) with long pants and shirts.


NYA has multiple Lost and Found collection areas. If you are missing any items, please first check the Lost and Found cubby at the Lower School. If the item is not there, it may have been turned in to the Upper School bin (in the hallway on the way to the gym) or the Middle School bin (located in the hallway between reception and the Health Services’ office).


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 can 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!


The NYA community is working to support the Preble Street Shelter by collecting donations of food to stock their shelves for the upcoming holidays. Seasonally, and especially with the start of colder weather, they are in need of extra supplies to serve the individuals and families who rely on their help. Between Monday, November 5 and Thursday, November 8, students are asked to bring donations of the following items to the Middle School: Stuffing Mix; Rice; Pasta; Gravy; Canned Fruit and Vegetables; Coffee; Canned Soup; Canned Beans; and Cooking Oils. Parents may also drop off donations when they come in for conferences on November 1 and 2. In celebration of the spirit of giving, students will enjoy a Dress Down Day on Wednesday, November 7. Thank you for your generosity!


Lower School Drama is presenting Disney’s The Lion King KIDS next month. All students in grades one through four will participate in the production. Toddler, Primary, and fifth grade students will have the opportunity to watch the dress rehearsal on Tuesday, November 13. Lower School students have been hard at work since September bringing the story of Simba, Scar, and all the animals to life. The performance of The Lion King KIDS is on Wednesday, November 14, at 2:30 p.m. in Safford. It is free and open to the public. We hope to see you there!


Ever wonder what it means to be an NYA Parent Ambassador?  Join the Admission Team and the Marketing Team on Friday, October 19, from 8:00-8:30 a.m. in the Middle School Community Room to learn about the many ways to be a Parent Ambassador.


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. Be on the lookout for information on the NYA Parents’ Association Holiday Wreath Sale coming soon.


As part of the Kauffmann Program, NYA is offering a monthly book group that focuses on nature and society’s relationship to it. The Wild Soul Words group is open to all adult members of the NYA and surrounding communities. Participants gather in a casual environment to talk about a given book, drink wine (or beverage of choice), and examine how lessons from that book might apply to our community. The group is hosted and facilitated by Ian Ramsey, and NYA is providing wine and other beverages. The first date and book selection is: Active Hope: How to Face the Mess We’re in without Going Crazy by Joanna Macy and Chris Johnstone- on October 17. The group will meet in the Middle School Community Room at 6:30 p.m.


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!


10/16 Yarmouth Fire Department Visit
10/17 Dress Down Day for Holiday Families $3
10/17 Wild Soul Words Book Group, MSCR 6:30 p.m.
10/19 Parent Ambassador Seminar, MSCR 8:00-8:30 a.m.
10/23 Picture Retakes & Toddler Picture Day 8:00 a.m.
10/26 End of First Quarter
10/31 Halloween Festivities and Parade; Chewonki Visit
11/1-11/2 Parent-Teacher Conferences NO SCHOOL
11/1-11/8 Bring in Donations for Preble Street
11/4 Middle and Upper School Open House 1:00-3:00 p.m.
11/7 Dress Down Day for Preble Street
11/12  Veterans Day NO SCHOOL
11/14 Guided Mindfulness, MSCR 7:00-7:30 a.m.
11/14 Disney’s The Lion King KIDS Performance, Safford 2:30 p.m.
 11/16 Last day of classes before Thanksgiving Break
11/16 Deadline for Poinsettia Orders
 11/19-11/23 Thanksgiving Break
 11/26 Classes resume
11/29-11/30 Poinsettia Pick-Up, MSCR
 12/1 NYA Holiday Craft Fair


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