A Morning with FriendsWritten by Margaret Pegno
On Wednesday, May 18, the Lower School held its biennial Grandparents and Special Friends Day. Students are asked to invite a special person in their life to Friends Academy to showcase the incredible work the Lower School has done this year. Many Upper School students were asked to be special friends and join the younger students throughout the celebration.
Led by Lower School Art Teacher MaryJo Allegra, student artwork was on display in the Helen A. Dolan Center Art Gallery. In the morning, fourth-graders – the eldest of the Lower School – transformed into Art Docents and provided guided tours as they explained the process of our art curriculum in each grade to guests.
After the tours, guests were invited into the Theater for music performances from each grade. Playgroup and PreK joined together for their song Dinosaur Ditty-Wa and Second Grade performed an impressive dance to Best Day of My Life choreographed by Dance Teacher Yoaldri Messina. In the grand finale, Kindergarten through Fourth Grade gathered on stage to sing Spring.
By 10 am, the Lower School classrooms were filled with children showing their appreciation to their teachers and their special friends.
In Nikita Desai’s third grade class, students interviewed their special friends/grandparents asking them questions about their 8 and 9 year old experiences. It was interesting because there was a diverse range of visitors from ages 16 to 80! Students and visitors were also lead into a fun game of Bingo. Finally, students lead their visitor around the classroom and hallways to show the work they had created which was part of their learning celebration (themes of Quaker history, self identity and identity of others including the Haudenosaunee, windows and mirrors, murals sharing important messages)
In Leslie Lemma’s Class the students took their special guests on a tour of the work from their learning celebrations earlier in the week(themes of Quaker history, self identity and identity of others including the Haudenosaunee, windows and mirrors, murals sharing important messages). Together they created a peace canvas with stencils and paint. Once they finished their masterpieces they went on a measurement scavenger hunt with various objects around the room. It was magical to see the students with their special friends and the bonds they all share.
In connection with their Immigration studies, fourth grade students read The Keeping Quilt by favorite author, Patricia Polocco. This book tells the true story of a quilt that was created using scraps of clothing from family members as a way to remember their homeland, Russia. The quilt was then handed down for generations in their family. After reading and discussing the book with Grandparents and Special Friends, students created their own “Keeping Quilt” square with symbols that are meaningful to them and their families. This keepsake square symbolizes the connections between family and special friends.
“This was truly a full-school team effort,” said Lower School Principal Dot Woo of the event. “The payoff was clear in the families and children’s eyes today. Memories were created.”