First Day School Annual Report 2017
"If you are prepared, they will come."
The format of reading a story to illuminate a testimony or positive behavior and then having a discussion afterwards worked well for our FDS last year. Some of the books that were read and discussed were Henry Climbs a Mountain—a take on Fox's "Walk Cheerfully Over the Earth;" The Quiltmaker's Gift—giving away possessions for finding happiness; Dr Seuss; All God's Critters and Edge of Night—kindness; Martin's Big Words—MLKing—words like "Justice" and "Freedom;" Fly Free—"doing good deeds and karma;" All in a Day—self respect. Other topics that FDS covered over the year were the Sanctuary and refugee movements, the election (healing after conflict), the environment, and prayer. Cathy Thompson continued to teach the children once a month with storytelling through the Faith and Play series which focuses on Quaker lessons. The children heard "Meeting for Worship," "Queries," "John Woolman Story," and finally a Godly Play story based on the Bible called "The Sower."
Attendance was small this year with an average of 3-5 kids but often had visiting children or family relations attending. The largest attendance was the holidays of Christmas and Easter. FDS feels celebrating our holiday traditions as well as our FDS rituals help to keep our children connected and interested with the allowance of welcoming newcomers. Every First Day, the children sit in their own circle around a battery operated candle and worship. Then there is time for sharing so that each voice may be heard. Finally we move into the lesson usually after a cooperative game, a song or most likely, a snack.
FDS continues to hold annual traditions starting in Nov when the children decorate holiday wreaths for the Meetinghouse doors. Then Christmas is celebrated with a Holiday play. During this year's Christmas play, all the children thought up personal gifts that they would share with the baby Jesus (Riley Ewing). Every May, the FDS participates in the Multicultural Festival that happens in the local park. FDS enjoys the diversity of this community event and has been a presence there for many years. Our final two traditions are the annual Easter Egg Hunt and our Moving up ceremony in June. This June, FDS was happy to recognize 4 young people who grew up in Third Haven First Day School and all celebrated a graduation this year. Moving Up day is very special to FDS.
FDS was excited this year to partner with the Hospitality committee and the Outreach committee to put on special events and is looking forward to working with other committees. This spring, the Meeting for business approved the construction of a small tire swing for the children. Property and Grounds is helping FDS with its implementation.
Since this report was prepared for the Sept Business Meeting, the curricula for our Fall will be studying famous Quakers, lessons from Teaching Tolerance, continuing with Faith and Play stories and learning more Quaker songs.
The committee consists of Amy Owsley—assist clerk, Katie Theeke, Beth Mufson, Cathy Thompson, Martha Holthausen and Susan Claggett—Clerk. Members at large—Alyssa Eshram, Sally Claggett, Lorraine Claggett