Blog

Pumpkin Day

10/21/19
Liza Ewen
Acting Head of School

As both a working parent and a life-long educator, I often feel as if time is distinctly not on my side. While I begin each school year thinking I’ve found a better way to stay on top of my calendar, by late fall, I inevitably feel like I’m playing a losing game of Tetris. We all spend so much time trying to arrange our lives, adding professional and family events to our calendars as more commitments fall from above at an even faster pace. And that’s all before our child wakes up sick and we must rearrange an entire day at the drop of a hat.
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Listening to the Small Voice Inside of Us

10/15/19
Liza Ewen
Acting Head of School

At last week’s Meeting for Worship, I read a query--an open-ended, self-reflective question that students in Nursery-Grade 8 had heard and considered in their classrooms throughout the week. The query asked, “What images, feelings, or words come to me when it’s silent? How do silence and stillness help me and others at FSH?” As you might imagine, silence doesn’t always come easily to children, whose energy and curiosity are innately unbridled. Combine this with the fact that, like all citizens of the 21st-century, children are bombarded with stimuli wherever they go, and silence becomes, at its best, a laboratory in which they can (literally) sound their questions or test out all the yet-discovered ways they can make noise. At its worst, it’s just plain dull.
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Seeing our School Through Others’ Eyes

10/7/19
Liza Ewen
Acting Head of School

I had the opportunity to give two tours of FSH last week; the first to prospective families as part of our monthly Open House, and the second to Bob Vitalo, a senior consultant with Carney Sandoe & Associates, who will guide us through the strategic planning process this fall. Both tours allowed me to see our school through others’ eyes and reflect on its greatest strengths. Across campus, I saw children engaged in discovery and inquiry alongside caring and experienced faculty. They experimented with Van Gogh’s style in the Art Studio, practiced their first Kwaye Marimba tune with Tr. Ed, played math games in Kindergarten, and asked questions from the perspective of a cultural anthropologist in MS Humanities. I saw students and teachers alike welcome visitors with warmth and generosity, taking the time to make sure all questions got answered. On our turf field and playgrounds, children of every age embraced the essential work of play, which further fuels their intellectual, social, emotional, and physical development. Everyone walked away impressed with our small, nurturing, joyful community of learners, as they should be--our faculty and your children make for an amazing combination.
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Partner Time

9/30/19
By Liza Ewen
Acting Head of School

Last week, the FSH community began the Thursday ritual of “partner time”--a half-hour set aside each Thursday before Meeting for Worship for older and younger students to spend time together. Each week, our older students join the younger students in their classrooms or on the playing field and have the opportunity to play, read, create, and learn side-by-side. While the early weeks of this require scaffolding by teachers (not every 8th grader knows or remembers the ins and outs of being three, and not every preschooler is ready to greet unfamiliar “big people”), by the middle of the year, partner time will include high-fives, hugs, and laughter. When our youngest students begin to attend Meeting for Worship in the meetinghouse, they typically sit with their partners, allowing our older students to shepherd their younger counterparts into this important feature of a Quaker school--a weekly event that gains importance when it’s your turn to help someone understand and participate in it.
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Peace and Justice

9/23/19
by Liza Ewen
Acting Head of School

As a Quaker school, it feels imperative that we engage students of all ages in conversations about peace and justice. Helping students as young as three years old grasp the significance of the International Day of Peace or the Global Climate Strike may seem daunting. Teachers at Friends School Haverford work to meet students where they are in their development to take the next right step in their understanding of these deeply important concepts. Whether our teachers are nurturing empathy, raising awareness, or participating in peaceful protest, they are always asking students to ask critical questions and to reflect on their own experiences--two hallmarks of Quaker education.
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Alumni Weekend

9/16/19
By Liza Ewen
Acting Head of School

I’ve loved having the chance to watch these early weeks of a new school year unfold, full of beginnings and unique experiences. Perhaps this is part of why I so enjoyed speaking with FSH alums from as far back as the Class of 1942 who returned to campus this weekend, bringing memories and stories with them. Whether returning to celebrate their 60th reunion or returning to share about their first weeks of high school, our alumni all spoke about the importance of deeply knowing this school and being deeply known by it.
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