December 2017

From the Director's Chair

There is no place that holds greater joy and unbridled excitement than the Lower School in the weeks between Thanksgiving and winter break! If you’re feeling a bit of mid-holiday stress, come visit our lobby during morning drop-off. You’ll likely leave with a bit of the levity and happiness that seem to be so contagious among our youngest Quakers!

Despite the excitement of the holiday season, students and teachers are still highly engaged in the daily learning and challenge they experience in our curriculum. In addition to core academics, students are exercising their creative intelligence as they prepare for the holiday concert. Please be sure to add Friday, Dec. 15, at 1 p.m., to your calendar for the Lower School Winter Concert in the Kurtz Center. Led by our talented music teachers, Margaret Lea and Debbie Kaesshaefer, this annual event is one of the most anticipated of the year and sets a joyous tone for the winter break, which begins at the conclusion of the performance.

Throughout the final weeks before break, students are deeply engaged in the practice of stewardship. Students in the Girls on the Run program (shown here) gave up a practice just before the Thanksgiving holiday to make cards for the Thanksgiving Food Drive; the Parent Community Quakerism Committee gathered all the fixings for 50 turkey dinners and 

delivered the food bundles—each with a handmade card—to more than 50 families at Widener School.

While individual grades are also participating in a number of service projects, the Holiday Gift Drive will be running from now until Dec. 15. Divisions will be fundraising and purchasing gifts for families for Taylor School, Philadelphia Interfaith Hospitality Network and Turning Points. If you are interested in contributing, please check with your child’s teacher to see what the grade is doing in support of communities near and far.

Holiday Gift Giving

This time of year is often marked by expressions of affection and gratitude. We live this through the Quaker testimony of Stewardship throughout the year but guide students in holding Simplicity as especially important during the holiday season. Gifts are neither required nor expected. However, should your family choose to do something for your child’s teacher, we respectfully ask that the Quaker testimony of Simplicity guide this gesture and strongly encourage you to include your children in the creation and giving of these gifts. You might consider, for example, helping your child to make a card or baked good, or donating a book to the library or small amount to the Grace Fund in the teacher’s name.

The Matt Miller Garden and Chigwell Close

Keeping stewardship in mind, I’d like to take a moment to share some thoughts raised about the use of Chigwell Close in the hours immediately after the school day.

We are so fortunate to have this space for our students to play, explore and connect. Chigwell also serves as a tribute to Matt Miller OPC '86, father of Tate OPC '16, Morgan, Class of 2018, and husband of Beckie Miller Hon. 1689, our Lower School math coordinator. The Matt Miller Memorial Garden was created to honor his life and legacy, and is maintained each year by a fund set up by the Miller family.

We would like to continue to hold Matt’s memory in the Light by keeping it as a space where students can learn and grow. Over the winter, the stream will undergo maintenance to help the flow and health of the waterway. We will also hold a gardening day as a community in April to welcome in the beauty of the new season. With this in mind, I ask for your help in the coming months.

In order to preserve the beauty of Chigwell, we need your diligence in reminding students how to provide thoughtful care and to exhibit positive behavior while playing in this space. This includes refraining from adding materials such as sand from the “beach” to the stream or dislodging or throwing the rocks under the arbor, and keeping both people and garbage out of the drainage areas closest to the buildings. As there is a significant water feature, we also ask that parents keep a very close eye on children as they play throughout Chigwell, and that children remain within the view of their guardian at all times.

Thank you in advance for your thoughtful use of Chigwell and the surrounding space. We look forward to continuing to enjoy time with students there in the years to come! I hope that the coming weeks bring health, happiness and joy for you and your family, and that the best is yet to come in 2018!

Kate McCallum

Coming Up in Lower School

Lower School Breakfast with Your Child
Fourth Grade Parent Meeting
Parent Social, Grades 1-5

12/7: Parent Meeting for Worship
12/8: Kindergarten Parent Meeting
12/15: Lower School Winter Concert 


Fall season officially wraps up with PC and league honors.
Scores, MVPs, photos.
Friends and family honor five student-athletes.

Calendar Events

    • FriDec15 Winter break begins at close of school close of school
    • MonDec25 Christmas
    • TueDec26 Kwanzaa
    • MonJan01 New Year's Day
    • TueJan02 Blue week
    • TueJan02 Classes resume
    • WedJan03 Lower School Enrichment begins
    • FriJan05 Parent Meeting for Worship (MR) 8:15 AM to 8:45 AM
    • FriJan05 Snow date for Lower School Winter Concert (KC) 1:00 PM to 2:30 PM
    • SatJan06 Gap year fair (MR&OG)
    • SunJan07 Yellow week
    • SunJan07 Movies that Matter:Prom Night in Mississipi 2:00 PM to 4:00 PMMississipi,
    • MonJan08 Upper School Parent Forum (OR) 8:15 AM to 9:15 AM
    • ThuJan11 3rd grade parent meeting (TH) 8:15 AM to 9:30 AM
    • ThuJan11 Parent Community meeting 8:15 AM to 9:15 AM
    • SunJan14 Blue week
    • MonJan15 Martin Luther King Jr. Day
    • MonJan15 No classes pre-K to 12
    • TueJan16 Middle School faculty workday
    • TueJan16 No classes for grades 6-8
    • ThuJan18 Middle School Parent Forum (BC) 8:15 AM to 9:15 AM
    • FriJan19 Quarter 2 ends
    • FriJan19 Semester 1 ends
    • FriJan19 1st grade parent meeting (TH) 8:15 AM to 9:30 AM
    • SunJan21 Yellow week
    • MonJan22 Quarter 3 begins
    • MonJan22 Semester 2 begins

Penn Charter

A Friends School for Girls and Boys, Pre-K to 12

3000 West School House Lane Philadelphia, PA 19144 215.844.3460
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