Lower School Newsletter for Sunday, September 10, 2017

What a wonderful first week of school! Despite the ups and downs in the weather, we had a great first week, and the children are beginning to settle into the routines of school. It is hard to believe how quickly time passes and that we are about to embark on week two. The weeks ahead will be more consistent in structure, helping the students to adjust to classroom expectations and become comfortable with the schedule, their teachers, and their peers. There are also some special events on the horizon, including several field trips and Homecoming. We are delighted to have you as part of the NYA community and invite you to connect with us at any time. Leslie Durgin, Associate Director of Admission and Lower School, and I are scheduling some “drop-in hours” on Thursday, September 14 and Friday, September, 22 from 8:00-9:00 a.m. and on Tuesday, September 12 and Thursday, September 21 from 2:15 – 3:30 p.m. Please feel free to stop by with any questions or just to say hello.

Marissa Markonish
Head of Lower and Middle Schools


The 2017-2018 Lower School Family Handbook is now posted on the NYA website under the Parents and Students tabs. The handbook is full of useful details, as well as outlining critical information on school rules and policies. Please take some time to read the handbook carefully as all members of the NYA community are expected to read and abide by the policies and protocols. Hard copies of the handbook are available on request.


Please be aware that the two spaces in Curtis driveway closest to Main Street are reserved for admission visitors and may not be used for drop-off or pick-up. We appreciate your help keeping these spaces available. Thank you!


The International Day of Peace is celebrated around the globe on Thursday, September 21. NYA is participating with a special assembly to recognize the installation of the peace poles created last spring. This project was spearheaded by Shannon Gallagher and Ellen Gagne, whose travels inspired them to bring these symbols of peace to the ls-gp-day-2017-86-resizeNYA campus. “Peace poles serve as a visual reminder for us to think, speak, and act in the spirit of kindness and peace,” shared Shannon. “It is estimated that there over 200,000 peace poles located in almost every country in the world, spreading the message: May Peace Prevail On Earth.” Art teachers Colby Myer and Tim McMahon were instrumental in the creation of the peace poles which were designed and painted by students in all three divisions. The Lower School classes are also presenting their pinwheels for peace and singing the song, Sing Peace Around the World.


Throughout the year at NYA, we have periodic “dress down days” in which students and staff are invited to dress more casually (see Lower School Family Handbook for details). These dress down days occur sometimes to celebrate special events on campus such as Homecoming. At other times, we hold these days to raise funds and awareness for charities or special causes. Lower School families are welcome to participate and donations are welcome.

little-angmo-picUnder the leadership of Eliot Grady’s advisory group, we are holding our first Dress Down Day of the year on Wednesday, September 13 to sponsor an 8-year-old girl, Nilza Angmo, who hopes to attend the Siddhartha School in Ladakh, India. As little as $360 will pay for Nilza Angmo’s tuition, books, and other school expenses. NYA has a special relationship with the Siddhartha School. Khen Ripoche, a Tibetan Buddhist Monk and founder of the Siddhartha School, is a frequent visitor to NYA and presented the Academy with our prayer wheel last spring. In addition, Stanzin Angmo, NYA Class of 2016, attended Siddhartha prior to coming to NYA in her junior year. Stanzin Angmo is currently a sophomore at Bennington College in Vermont and returns to Ladakh each summer to help educate the community on women’s and children’s health issues.

On Tuesday, October 3, we are holding a Dress Down Day to provide support to victims of the recent hurricanes. This Dress Down Day is being co-sponsored by Blythe Thompson, Class of 2022, and Tessa Quattrucci, Class of 2018. Thousands of people across hundreds of communities have been impacted by these recent natural disasters.  In addition, volunteers and responders from across the U.S. have taken time away from their families to assist those in need. Our hearts go out to all those affected by these tragedies.

Dot Day

dot-dayOn September 15, over 8 million people across 169 different countries are joining together to celebrate Dot Day inspired by children’s book The Dot by Peter H. Reynolds. The Lower School is taking part in this celebration through writing, drawing, painting, and sharing our creations. This day is a wonderful reminder of the importance of knowing ‘we can all make our mark on the world.’ Wear some dots on September 15 and join in the fun!


Friday, October 13, is the start of Homecoming at NYA. Students are encouraged to wear ORANGE and BLACK to show their Panther Pride (dress down attire is permitted). We dismiss all grades at 2:30 p.m. and the festivities begin. Our hope is that Lower School parents are able to pick up their child at 2:30 p.m. and join us in the homecoming fun. We understand that this may not be possible for some families, so if you still need after care, please let us know so we can plan accordingly. There are snacks, a bouncy house, face painting, sign painting, and other fun activities for the Lower School students to enjoy school spirit! The Parents’ Association class reps are sending out information via email to parents about volunteer opportunities. There is an all-school cookout to grab some dinner while enjoying the fun.


Parents, please enjoy this letter of introduction from our new school counselor, Jackie Bromage.  We are delighted to welcome Jackie to NYA and to have her as a member of our student wellness team.


Friday, September 22 is Sky Day, “a global citizen art initiative designed to bring us together and promote a new level of ecological citizenship around the world from Only One Sky.” Around the globe, people take photos of “their” sky. NYA students have the opportunity to go outside on September 22 and take a photo of the sky above campus. These photos are uploaded with a special hashtag assigned to NYA and become part of a photo collage of our school, state, country, and the world. The collages appear in the Sky Day Project Gallery on-line and as part of a special exhibit at the Adler Planetarium in Chicago.


FIELD TRIPSbug-maine-ia

Various classes are beginning to head off campus for some special class trips. Classroom teachers notify parents in advance of any trips via email or classroom update with specific details. Information on some upcoming trips is listed below:

  • The third-fourth grade class is visiting the Maine State Museum for Bug Maine-ia on Tuesday, September 12. Entomologists help the class get up close and personal with some of the world’s most fascinating insects! We explore a live insect zoo and have the opportunity to collect and identify insects found on the museum grounds. The class is off campus from approximately 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.
  • Each year, first and second graders participate in a service project as part of International Coastal Cleanup Week. This year, on Monday, September 18, students travel to Bay View Beach in Saco (a favorite!) to gather trash and data. Students track what is collected and report data back on official forms to the Maine Coastal Program, which forwards it to Ocean Conservancy. Students leave school at 8:15, do the clean-up, have a little time to play, eat an early lunch, and return to school before noon. While the group is not swimming, parents should send in a change of clothes, just in case.
  • On Tuesday, September 26, Mrs. Gagne’s class is attending the Annual Fall Bay Day in Bowdoinham’s Merrymeeting Bay. This outdoor experiential education involves hands-on lessons in environmental education. Local experts teach students about such topics as beach seining, archaeology, watershed modeling, bird and plant identification, creating art, and more! Students leave campus around 8:30 a.m. and return by 2:00 p.m.


As part of appropriate safety and preparedness as well as meeting state mandates, NYA holds both fire and crisis drills throughout the year. The first of these drills is be happening soon. In the Lower School, we have a “soft entry” into the drills, e.g. having the first fire drill without the alarm. We also present them in a very age-appropriate manner, discussing how we practice both leaving the Lower School building as quickly as possible and staying inside the building as quietly as possible. Every effort is made to avoid making these anxiety-producing for the children, but a few may still become a bit fearful or nervous on these occasions. Please feel free to contact Marissa Markonish or your child’s classroom teacher with any questions or concerns.


The Lower School Drama Club is presenting Jungle Book KIDS this fall! Linda Vaillancourt is directing and Ellen Gagne is the assistant director. All students in grades one through four participate in the production. Students interested in taking a larger role can participate in the after school Drama Club, which meets Tuesdays and Thursdays from 3:15-4:15 p.m., beginning on Tuesday, September 12. Students not in the after school club fill the ensemble roles and learn the songs, choreography, and staging as part of their fall music classes. The performance of Jungle Book KIDS is scheduled for Wednesday, November 15, at 2:30 p.m. in Safford Auditorium.

Interested students should sign up for Drama Club on the sign-up sheet on Ms. Jen’s desk in the Lower School. Contact Linda Vaillancourt with any questions.


Come and make large-scale props for Lower School Drama’s production of Jungle Book KIDS! We makejungle-book-pic props out of cardboard and paper and then paint them in fun, bright colors. The students explore different painting and printing techniques as we decorate our creations. Smocks are provided for painting, but please feel free to bring a change of clothes that can get messy. The Lower School Prop Club meets on Wednesdays, October 4, 11, 18, and 25 in the Great Room of the Lower School from 3:15 – 4:15 p.m. and is open to students in grades one through four. Interested students should sign up with Ms. Jen at the Lower School reception desk.

GRANDPARENTS’ DAYls-gp-day-2017-70-resize

Each year, NYA invites the grandparents of our students to campus to experience a special day with their grandchildren. Middle and Upper School Grandparents’ Day is on Friday, October 20 and Lower School Grandparents’ Day is scheduled for Friday, May 11, 2018. To add or update the contact information for any grandparents or “grand friends,” please complete the Grandparent Information Form. Contact Caroline Anson with any questions.


It is essential that we have current health forms on file for every student at NYA. If you have not already done so, please complete all necessary health as soon as possible and turn them in to the Health Office. Contact Ashley Moody with any questions.


Additional forms, such as the Off-Campus Travel Permission Form and Before and After Care Agreement Form, can be found under NEW FAMILY FORMS and RETURNING FAMILY FORMS under the Parents tab on the NYA website. Please be sure to complete and turn in all necessary forms as soon as possible.


If anyone other than a parent is picking up a child from school, it is imperative that we have a signed permission slip on file. Pick-Up Permission Forms are available at the Lower School reception desk. We also need to see a photo ID the first time the individual picks up a child from NYA.


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 for 7:00-7:30 a.m. on September 13, October 11, November 8, and December 13. 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 can sit on chairs if that is more comfortable). For more information, contact Ian Ramsey.


Want to look, move, and feel better than you have in years? Come train with Shelby! Fall Bootcamp is being offered at NYA’s Travis Roy Ice Arena from September 6 through November 17 (30 total sessions). For more information, please visit Shelby’s website or contact Shelby via email.


only-kayakAs 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, have a 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 meeting dates and book selections include: The Only Kayak by Kim Heacox on September 28; Last Child in the Woods: Saving Our Children From Nature Deficit Disorder by Richard Louv on October 26; and Tribe by Sebastian Junger on November 30.


Picture Retake Day is scheduled for Tuesday, October 24. Anyone who missed pictures on September 6 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 is sent out directly to parents by Coffee Pond Photography. Please be sure to let your child’s classroom teacher or advisor know if she/he plans to sit for a retake.


9/12 Third & Fourth Grade Bug Maine-ia Field Trip 8:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.
9/12 Lower School Drop In 2:15-3:30 p.m.
9/12 Lower School Drama Club begins 3:15 p.m.
9/13 Guided Mindfulness Session 7:00-7:30 a.m.
9/13 Dress Down Day for Siddhartha School Sponsorship
9/13 Upper School Parent Night 6:45.p.m.
9/14 Lower School Drop In 8:00-9:00 a.m.
9/14 Middle School Parent Night 6:30 p.m.
9/15 Dot Day
9/18 First & Second Grade Beach Clean-Up Trip 8:15 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.
9/21 Lower School Drop In 2:15-3:30 p.m.
9/21 International Day of Peace
9/22 Lower School Drop In 8:00-9:00 a.m.
9/22 Sky Day
9/26 Third & Fourth Grade Fall Bay Day Field Trip 8:30 a.m. – 2:00 p.m.
9/26 Head’s Circle Dinner
9/28 Wild Soul Words Book Group
10/3 Dress Down Day for Hurricane Relief
10/4 Lower School Prop Club begins 3:15 p.m.
10/9 Columbus Day NO SCHOOL
10/13-14 Homecoming
10/20 Middle & Upper School Grandparents’ Day
10/24 Picture Retakes


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