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The Weekly Roundup with Teacher Margaret

Dear Friends,

Thank you to everyone who helped make our Giving Tuesday such a big success. We blew right through our goal.


We are in December, the days are getting shorter and the sun is weak even at its apogee. Students are considering how we might let our Light shine during these darkest days of the year. There are many Westfield traditions that make up this month. Three teachers, ten students, and I helped with one of these traditions when we traveled to Kenlin Tree Farm. After looking at many trees, we settled on two, and then in a very un-Quaker manner, we voted. The tree is standing; now we just have to figure out how to get the lights up to the top.


I want to extend a heartfelt thanks to our parent volunteers who have organized our library for our Prek-second grade students. The collection has been sorted to focus on books appropriate to students in these four grades. Books for older readers have been moved to classroom libraries. These same volunteers have read to and helped students check out books. The next step will be to inventory the books we have and to add recent purchases to the catalog. Once this task is complete, we will use the generous gift from Parents and Guardians Council to add to the collection with recent award-winning and honorable mention Caldecott, Newberry, Corretta Scott King, Sirbert, and Orbis books. We want to be sure to create a high-quality collection of recent fiction and non-fiction books that will nurture a love of reading in our students. Meanwhile, our older students are enjoying their trips to the Cinnaminson Library. Third grade insisted ongoing on Monday even though it meant braving the rain and scrounging for umbrellas.


Angela Duckworth, author of Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance, writes a weekly column for the Upside Section of the Philadelphia Inquirer called “Upbringing: Science of Character Development.” Recently, she wrote about the difference between giving a material item versus an experience. Apparently, our brains are “discounting machines.” Over time that important thing we needed loses our interest. From an evolutionary perspective, this makes sense; as parents buying our children presents, this can be frustrating. Duckworth argues that we should think long and hard about giving our children too many things; instead, we should focus on giving our children experiences. My now-adult children recently reminded me that the things they most remember were times we spent together sledding, baking cookies, going to the museum, going to Meeting for Worship, shivering in the backyard at night to look at stars, building forts, reading books. . . Yes, I was still reading to and with my children into their high school years. 


My next coffee and conversation with parents will be in January. Let me know if there is a topic you would be interested in our discussing together.