September 27, 2013
Dear Preschool Parents,
It is a wonderful experience being here each morning to observe your children entering the preschool. The bottled-up excitement is palpable. It’s unmitigated joy to see our students arrive with big smiles and news about lost teeth, a special show ‘n share, an imminent birthday, a nature find from a walk or garden or the anticipated arrival of visiting grandparents. We also love the brief visits of preschool “alumni” who drop in to say hello and give their old teachers high fives and hugs.
Our students are now quite accustomed to school and have settled into the daily and weekly routines and sometimes remind their teachers when we stray from the expected schedule.
PreK classes conclude their study of the five senses and begin learning about Farms and Fall and Kindergarten classes wrap up their study of Homes, Families and Country and will begin their global studies curriculum in early November with an investigation of Mexican geography, folklore, music and culture.
Wednesday, October 2 we celebrate Green and White Day and the culmination of our first community service project. We ask all students to wear our school colors or clothing with the DA logo. We shall present the items we have collected to Thad Bennett of SEEDS, who will come talk to us during our special assembly that morning. The day ends with some planting on our playground and a picnic (weather permitting). If you have not done so already, please consider sending in a donation of organic seeds, garden gloves, clippers, wooden clothes pins, a new or gently used tray or harvest basket.
On Friday, October 4, Parents in the Bumblebee kindergarten class are invited to an informal to meet Sally Markham, who will be standing in for Jessica Whilden while she and her husband Guy welcome their new baby. Sally taught kindergarten for many years and has been a wonderful substitute teacher for us.
There is no school on Monday, October 14. This is fall break.
Friday, October 18 is a day for field trips and parties! Both Frog and Sunshine Pre-K classes will be travelling to the Pumpkin Farm as part of their farm unit.
Kindergarten classes will have a Red, White and Blue picnic including hot dogs, chips and lemonade, so no lunches are needed for kindergarten students that day.
Yearbook picture retakes are scheduled for Wednesday, October 23. Children who were absent on September 25 or whose parents request a retake will be photographed. To request a retake, you must return the original picture package and tell the teacher you wish to have the photo redone.
We have no school Friday, October 25. This is a workday for teachers throughout the school as we work on progress reports in preparation for fall conferences. All-day care is available through our extended day program
Our Preschool Halloween parade will occur on Thursday, October 31 at 8:30 am. We request you help your child select a costume without violent connotations. Toy swords, knives and guns are not allowed at school and will not be permitted in the parade. Please send your child to school in costume and send regular clothes (including gym shoes) in a clearly identified grocery bag. We hope you'll plan to attend the brief parade. For best viewing, plan to stand along the playground nearest the gym, the back parking lot or in the breezeway between the library and the performing arts building. Your camera is a must! We shall return to the preschool immediately after the parade for a brief and lively assembly in the Great Room before we change into our regular clothes and continue with our school day. We conclude our preschool day with a pizza lunch. Aftercare and Extended Day are both in session.
Assemblies not described above include a return visit from Dr. Chuck Miller of Triangle Veterinary Hospital, who will bring an animal friend, the Duke Oncology Therapy Dogs, a presentation by the Teddy Bear Class entitled “Hello” during which they will tell us how people in different cultures greet one another and the seasonal favorite, “Charlie Brown and the Great Pumpkin”.
As the weather turns cooler, it’s time to remind you to mark jackets and sweaters with your child's name. These items invariably get misplaced, and their return is assured if they carry identification. There is a lost and found tub in the preschool hallway and another area across from the infirmary in Lower School. Any unmarked items remaining unclaimed are donated to a local charity.
Many of our kindergarten parents have been visiting our classes to talk about their hobbies, vocations and interests, to help with research reports or read to the class: this is such wonderful enrichment for our children and is enjoyed by all. We appreciate your taking time from your very busy lives to sit on the floor with us and talk to the children. It sends a powerful message about how much you value what happens at school, and every child loves having his or her parent as a “show ‘n tell”.
As always, please feel free to contact your child’s teacher or me with any questions or concerns.
|Preschool Book Sale|
1:00 PM to 2:45 PM
|PS Mexico Assembly (Whilden K Class)|
|Kindergarten Mexican Fiestas|
|Pre-K Camelot Parties and Feasts|
|Early Dismissal/Winter Break Begins|
|Preschool Fall Songfest delights|
Cute kids, catchy songs and an appreciative audience of family and friends — there’s no better way to kick-off the Thanksgiving holiday than the annual Preschool Fall Songfest.
|Kindergarteners, fourth-graders meet for frightful fun|
What happens when you mix kindergarten students, fourth-graders and a colorful assortment of craft materials and ask them to make Halloween witches as big as 5-year-olds? You get an array of witches more fun than frightful!
|Dance Club raises $650 for Komen through hair extension event|
The Upper School Dance Club raised $650 for the Susan G. Komen for the Cure foundation through its second annual hair extension event Oct. 9. Sixty-five people participated, each donating $10 to have a bright pink hair extension applied to their coiffures.
|Getting 101 Preschoolers to smile and look at the camera|
If you’ve ever tried to take a family photo for a holiday card, you have some idea of the challenge to have everyone smiling, eyes open, looking at the camera, etc. Now imagine what it’s like to orchestrate a “family” photo when you’ve got 101 kids. That was Preschool Director Sheppy Vann’s assignment on Sept. 16: to take a group photo of the entire Durham Academy Preschool. The Preschool photo is an annual event, so look for this year’s photo and ones from previous years the next time you’re in the Preschool.
|Nine days, 391 students and 1,894 books|
Reading is a big deal at Durham Academy. From their earliest school days, DA students are encouraged to enjoy books. Even so, Preschool and Lower School librarians Michelle Rosen and Letizia Haynie have been amazed at this year’s library’s circulation figures.
|26 DA faculty, staff honored for a total of 425 years of service|
Twenty-six Durham Academy faculty, administrators and staff were honored June 6 at DA’s closing faculty/staff meeting for their years of service to the school. All together, they have been a part of DA for 425 years! Elizabeth Aldridge, president of Parents Association, presented each of them with a book to commemorate their 10, 15, 20, 25 or 30 years of employment at DA.
|Preschoolers and their families get a 'taste of the world'|
Preschool students and their families got a “taste of the world” April 25, when the Durham Academy Preschool celebrated family night. The Preschool was a whirl of activity, with music, food, dancing, art, games and artifacts from six continents.
|DA chess players bring home five titles from state tournament|
Chess teams and individual chess players from Durham Academy shined in the North Carolina State Scholastic Championships, bringing home three team titles and two individual titles. The championships were held March 2 to 3 at the Raleigh Convention Center.
|Five Questions with Nikki Graves|
Nikki Graves joined the Durham Academy community in 2010 as a pre-kindergarten teacher after working previously as an administrator with Boys & Girls Clubs of Raleigh. She graduated from UNC-Charlotte, where she was a 1,000-point scorer, a two-year captain and a team MVP as a member of the university's varsity womens basketball program. As DA's JV girls basketball coach, she has led the team to consecutive TISAC conference championships.
|Pre-K astronauts blast off on their final mission|
After five weeks of studying about the solar system and outer space, Pre-Kindergarten “astronauts” blasted off for their final mission on March 4 with a parade through the Lower School. Pre-K students built a “spaceship” in their classrooms, made mini-solar systems and stargazed at the Morehead Planetarium. Best of all, Preschool Director Sheppy Vann wrote in her monthly letter to parents, “their enthusiasm is unmatched anywhere in the cosmos.”
|If kindergarten is studying 's,' it’s time for Silly Sock Day |
When Durham Academy kindergarten students study the letter “s,” their teachers ask them to think of words that begin with that “sssssssss” sound. If you’re in kindergarten, “silly” is bound to be one of the first words to pop into your brain. What’s even better than “silly” is “silly socks,” and you don’t need a laugh track to hear little ones giggling about silly socks. On Wednesday, Nov. 7, DA kindergarten students and teachers celebrated Silly Sock Day by wearing just that.
|Durham Academy celebrates Hispanic Heritage Month through song and dance|
The Durham Academy community celebrated Hispanic Heritage Month, which is observed between Sept. 15 and Oct. 15, in a variety of ways, from creating a wax museum of influential figures in Hispanic culture to welcoming the larger Durham community to the DA campus for an evening of Latin-inspired song and dance.
|Durham Academy's Halloween festivities feature cheers and BOOs alike|
There was a babe-in-arms dressed as a tiger, and a dad who came as a king. Librarians were outfitted as “Dewey” and “Decimal,” and one kindergartener was disguised as a venus flytrap. There was an ice cream cone. Harry Potter made an appearance. And there were enough super heroes and princesses to populate an entire network of cartoons.
|Kindergarteners celebrate USA with all-American picnic |
With their first country study unit, titled "Our Families, Homes and Country," coming to a close, Durham Academy kindergarten students celebrated in grand style with an all-American picnic Oct. 5. Students wore red, white and blue, listened to patriotic music and enjoyed hot dogs, chips, lemonade and red-white-and-blue cookies under a bright blue sky.
|Kindergarteners say 'hello' in 17 languages|
Want to know how to say “hello” in 17 different languages? Just ask the students in Sheppy Vann’s kindergarten class. They have been learning how America is made up of people from all across the world, including a Durham Academy classmate whose parents came from Nigeria.
|Parent Survey to be distributed in mid June|
Durham Academy’s parent survey will be distributed via email mid June. The survey, which should take no more than 20 minutes to complete, provides DA administrators, faculty and staff with valuable feedback that is used to evaluate various aspects of the school year and to improve the school. Please plan on participating in the survey as your feedback is valuable to ensuring Durham Academy’s continued excellence.
|Class of 2024 bids farewell to Preschool |
Durham Academy Preschool “graduated” 63 kindergarten students at closing exercises Friday, June 1. Kindergarten students wore green-and-white T-shirts bearing their projected high school graduation date: Durham Academy Class of 2024. The tradition began when DA’s Class of 2000 completed kindergarten, and the T-shirts have become a rite of passage at Preschool closing exercises.
|K-1 chess team places sixth at National Elementary Championships|
Durham Academy’s state champion K-1 team finished in sixth place in the 300-player Championship Division of the 2012 National Elementary Championships held in Nashville, Tenn.
“The K-1 Championship Division section was incredibly difficult with so many strong teams and players from California to New York participating,” said Craig Jones, DA chess coach. “Playing chess competitively is hard for any age group; it is particularly challenging for six-year-olds to maintain their wits during a long and exhausting schedule. Our guys gave their all for three long days – it was quite amazing!”
|Closing exercises set for all divisions|
Between June 1 and June 8, each of Durham Academy’s four school divisions will hold closing exercises or commencement and send students to their next level of schooling.
|Culture and Community Festival to celebrate diversity |
Come for food, live entertainment and fun as Durham Academy celebrates diversity at the Culture and Community Festival Friday, May 11, from 6 to 8 p.m. in the Upper School Learning Commons and Courtyard. This annual event, which used to be called the Diversity Dessert, has grown into an all-school celebration and is open to the entire DA community.
|Preschoolers make music for Grandparents and Special Friends Day|
Durham Academy Preschoolers demonstrated their musical range, singing selections ranging from 19th-century Beethoven to Katy Perry’s 2010 hit “Firework,” for the 30th annual Grandparents and Special Friends Day April 27 in Brumley Performing Arts Building on the Lower School campus.
|Preschool teachers treat DA maintenance crew to Valentine’s breakfast |
Durham Academy Preschool teachers think DA’s maintenance men are tops. That’s why they have treated them to a Valentine’s Day breakfast almost every year since moving to the new Preschool/Lower School campus in 2002. The Preschool teachers bring biscuits, grits, doughnuts, coffee, juice and more, and set it up for the men in the maintenance shop.
|DA community honors Chinese New Year with traditional food, dance|
Dragons and dumplings dotted the Durham Academy campus on Jan. 23 as the school community celebrated the Chinese New Year in traditional fashion.
Preschool students and teachers paraded through their building playing Chinese hand drums and waving red ribbons to celebrate the holiday. Students leading the parade imitated a traditional dragon dance, which honored 2012 as the Year of the Dragon. Click here
to watch video of the parade.
|Re-enrollment contracts to be handled electronically;|
contracts are due on Friday, Feb. 10
Durham Academy will be handling re-enrollment contracts electronically for the first time this year. Re-enrollment and tuition information for 2012-13 will be emailed to parents of current Durham Academy students on Jan. 24. Using the personalized Veracross link, families can re-enroll, submit tuition deposits via bank draft and update any medical information.
|Third annual meal-packaging event set for Jan. 16 at DA|
By Anne McNamara
Upper School Director of Community Service
The national holiday honoring Martin Luther King Jr. will be observed on Jan. 16. Congress designated the holiday as a national day of service in 1994, making it the only federal holiday observed as a national day of service. Durham Academy will observe this day by hosting the third annual meal-packaging event in conjunction with Stop Hunger Now.
|Transition events help students, parents prepare for next grade level|
Moving up to the next grade level can be nerve-wracking. At Durham Academy it means new teachers, unfamiliar classrooms, different expectations and maybe even a two-mile move to another campus. In order to help families with this transition, DA has planned a series of events geared toward both children and their parents.
|Like Thanksgiving? |
Then thank “bold, brave, stubborn and smart” Sarah Hale
Thanksgiving, the holiday Americans celebrate on the fourth Thursday in November, came about thanks to the relentless efforts of Sarah Hale, a writer and the first female magazine editor in America. Kindergarten students in Janet Hampton and Dena Hanna’s class recently presented an assembly about this determined woman, who they described as “bold, brave, stubborn and smart.”
"School is a fun and exciting place to be"
|For a full interview with Preschool Director Sheppy Vann, click here.|