From CarrieWe believe in the power of collaborative effort to achieve the greatest good. At First Congo this means: • Promoting an atmosphere of mutual respect and trust • Valuing the partnership between parents and teachers in best serving the children • Nurturing and celebrating ourselves as a community of learners
Each year at First Congo we highlight one of our school’s core values. This year we thought long and hard about how to continue to promote community among our nursery school families. We learned a lot and our efforts helped to connect parents, children, and teachers in ways that had a real impact!
This year we welcomed 30 new families into the First Congo family, which is an unusually high number for our little school. The combination of these new families jumping in and getting involved, and our returning families offering an enthusiastic welcome and encouragement to attend functions, made this an active community building year.
The following is a list of all of the many opportunities offered as a means of encouraging parents to get involved, make friends, and feel connected to the First Congo family:
• Start-of-School Parent Welcome Party
• 2’s Class Picnics
• Snack Group Picnics in the 3’s & 4’s
• 2’s Friday Park Date
• Parent Welcome Coffees
• CPK Dine Out Events
• Parent Advisory Council Meetings
• ‘Bedtime Stories For Beechwood’ Event
• Parent Education Nights
• Fall & Spring Book Fairs
• Mom’s Night Out Book Swap Event
• Parent Social Event at the Peery Home
• Family Open House
• May Fete Parade
• End-Of-The-School Year Picnic in Mitchell Park
• Last Day Picnics
In addition, parents volunteered their time and culinary skills to make meals for families with newborn children, pitched in and helped in the planning of all of these events, and showed up to make the events fun and successful. We are so thankful for your active and enthusiastic participation at First Congo, and we believe we are the school we are because we care so deeply about nurturing children and families through the very important preschool years.
If you are a parent who will be graduating from our program in just a few weeks’ time, we want to thank you for your years of contribution to our community. Whether you had one child come through First Congo or many children pass through the gate, we are thankful to have been given the opportunity to learn with your child(ren), work with you in the classroom, and call you part of our family. One can ‘graduate’ from First Congo, but one always remains a member of the First Congo family.
If you are a continuing family we will be so happy to see you back next year and will depend upon you to greet our new families with warmth and encouragement. Or, even better yet, improve on that welcome by making suggestions to the Parent Advisory Council or First Congo staff about how we might make the beginning of the new school year additionally inviting. If you have a little bit of time in your schedule think about attending our first Parent Advisory Meeting in October and get involved, meet people, and have a voice in the planning of future events.
Over the summer you’ll hear about a few activities that will continue to gather our school community in low-key, child-oriented ways like a mid-summer dine out event, morning park play-dates, or maybe even a last-minute parent gathering. If you are interested in gathering a group because you or your child is longing to see school friends, please do not hesitate to send out some emails or make some calls.
Thank you for all of your efforts toward nurturing and celebrating our long-standing tradition of valuing school community!
Carrie mentions above the fact that we, as a community, have spent this school year focused on our core value which highlights the importance of community in our philosophy of education. As meaningful as it can be to look at our core values singly, allowing ample opportunity for deep thinking and focused practice, it must be appreciated that no single core value stands alone, more or less important to our philosophy than another, and so I would remind you that you may revisit our Core Values statement at any time via our web site.
Our core values support our mission by differing, but complementary, mechanisms. Each value is deeply held, but also absolutely dependent on the implementation of each of the other values in concert. We will continue to draw out one or another core value for particular focus each year, but we are ever mindful of holding them together as a single entity, parts of a unified whole to which we commit our efforts.
Mindful also of the fact that May is a stupefyingly busy month and that you may very well be unable to find even a moment to revisit the Core Values, we offer you the short and sweet version, the five-second sound bite: at First Congo, we strive for a meaningful experience, growing our social and emotional intelligences, in community with one another.
Put more simply: we learn to play and play to learn. Together.
The orders from the Spring Book Fair should be ready for delivery to school very soon. Thanks to all those families who visited the Book Fair and placed orders — our Lending and Classroom Libraries will be the richer for it, given the credit we continue to build at the Linden Tree through your purchases!
Upcoming Calendar Items
Mitchell Park will be the site for our End-of-the-Year Picnic on Sunday, May 19th from 3:00 – 5:30. Watch for your invitation soon!
All paperwork for students returning to First Congo in the fall is due on May 17th. As a reminder, all of the required forms are available on our website from the pull-down menu under Our Families. You may fill them out online before printing, signing, and returning to school. Photos for coat hooks may be submitted electronically this year.
Last Day(s) of School
May 21st, 22nd, and 23rd mark the last days for each of the respective Two’s classes. The Three’s will finish up the year on the 23rd, and the final day of class for the Four’s will be the 24th. Families are invited to bring a sack lunch and stay on a bit after school for a picnic to mark the transition into summer!
Our warmest thanks to Jen Glos for stepping up to the job of taking class photos for us this year. We found the process to be more kid-friendly and we like the results better than ever before!
We’d also like to extend an end-of-the-year thanks to Parent Advisory Council Chair Elizabeth Garr, and to Class Reps Amy Darling, Jen Glos, Adeline White (2’s); Emily Gottfurcht and Margaret Munzig (3’s); and Robyn Miller and Shea Singh (4’s). Our school is a far better place for all of your efforts this year!
Three First Congo families have recently welcomed babies into their folds:
- William Kearney (2’s) is a big brother to Madeleine.
- Miles Li (3’s) is a big brother to Felix.
- Lewa Drew (4’s) and Matthew White (2’s) are big sister and brother to Ginny.
Congratulations all around!