Head of School Message

The World We Seek For Children Begins Here

Walking to meetingOur Spring Trimester has begun at Westfield Friends School. We are joyfully and thoughtfully looking forward to easing some of our Covid-19 mitigation strategies. With the careful participation of everyone in our community, we have avoided school outbreaks and the need to shift to online learning. Recently, we returned to worshiping together in the Meeting House, students resumed their cross-grade collaborations, and we anticipate holding in-person class plays, poetry slams, and STEM demonstrations of learning with parents and family friends in attendance. 

All Thirteen: The Incredible Cave Rescue of the Thai Boys' Soccer TeamRight now, 6th-grade students are rehearsing Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream, 8th-grade students are preparing their version of Twelve Angry Men re-imagined as “Nine Angry Teenagers.” 6th-grade students have also begun their cross-disciplinary project centered on Christina Soontornvat’s book All Thirteen: The Incredible Cave Rescue of the Thai Boys' Soccer Team. From the geology of Thailand, to spelunking, to Buddhism, to hydrology and constructing water pumps, to the particular challenges of diving in caves, students will explore this event from myriad perspectives and disciplines, they will finish the unit asking and attempting to solve their own challenge inspired by this event.

NJAIS member logoIn February, Westfield Friends received confirmation of its accreditation by NJAIS. One of the clear findings by the NJAIS visiting committee is that the thoughtful, inquiry-based academics and vibrant arts are made possible by the strength and resilience of this learning community. Students in the elementary grades start their week together practicing mindfulness, celebrating birthdays, singing together, and considering queries on integrity, kindness, gratitude, stewardship, justice, and community. At the same time, students in Middle School are learning to be engaged, respectful citizen leaders through their participation in student government. Our preschool students take time out of their busy mornings for daily circle time – gathering to greet each other. Each week they learn to recite a new poem – most recently on kindness.

2nd gd pregame huddle

In its December Meeting, the Westfield Board of Trustees approved a formal policy on Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging. As a school we are continuing our work ensuring that every community member knows they can bring their full identity to school, their beliefs and experiences are respected, and space is created for them to thrive. The promise of a Westfield Friends’ education is to nurture each and every person’s gifts – their Divine endowment.

I invite you to join us. Come for a campus visit, or talk to one of our community members. We look forward to having you help us create the world we seek for children.

Dr. Margaret Haviland, Head of School

The World We Seek For Children Begins Here

Head of School November 2021Westfield Friends School opened the school year with high anticipation for a successful year. Several grades were at or near capacity. Teachers, students, and their families are enjoying in person learning and opportunities for multi-generational community activities.  From ice-cream socials, to weekend BYOCoffee playdates, to a highly successful Halloween BOOOOOOth Bash, Westfield Friends School members have demonstrated our commitment to each other and to building community. We know students learn best when they and their families are seen, known, and believe they belong.   

BYOC PS Playdate BoooooothBash2
Booooooth Bash


With care and creativity, students are embracing their opportunities for in-person learning in the community. On Mondays, students in grades PreK-5 start their week together in the gym to practice mindfulness, celebrate birthdays, consider questions about how to be true to themselves or express gratitude, and sing together. At the same time, students in sixth to eighth grades are busy creating a new student government, discussing the month's queries on integrity and gratitude, and engaging in their Social Emotional Learning program focused on valuing themselves, their communities, and the world beyond. Our young preschool students gather daily for circle time and morning gathering. Their daily routine helps to build independence in age-appropriate ways. On Wednesdays students in grades PreK-8 join together for Meeting for Worship; Monthly, on Fridays, they enjoy Meeting for Singing or our Quaker Friday activities. While October’s Quaker Friday included costumes, parades, pumpkin decorating, and fall treats, November’s Quaker Friday focuses on service and caring for our extended community.

Meeting for worship

 The faculty and staff are building on the successes of the past year and working together to ensure that we deliver what our mission promises to students and their families. As we moved more activities outdoors this past year, we witnessed how giving children time to be outside at the start of each day and in the middle of the day provides them with needed time to stretch, exercise, and safely visit with friends. I was delighted to hear from a parent that when she told her 3rd-grade daughter that  it was too cold to go outside, her daughter responded, “this is nothing, at school we have fun outside in much colder temperatures than this.” We believe this outdoor playtime provided several overlapping health-enhancing benefits as it fostered deep and rich learning opportunities.

Westfield is committed to providing a common learning experience for all students while helping individual children to build on their strengths and improve skills where they face challenges. Westfield students continually prove to be successful and joyful readers of all sorts of genres and thoughtful consumers of various media. We teach effective and powerful self-expression through written and spoken words. Students learn number sense and grow into confident mathematicians able to think through complex problems. We help children become critical thinkers, adept at analyzing and interpreting ideas, topics, and arguments they encounter in this information-saturated world. 

This past summer we renovated our lower level to create a new science lab, pottery studio, and art studio. This renovated space allows all grades to have authentic lab experiences, practicing hands-on methods of scientific inquiry. The art spaces enable our young artists to experiment, take risks, and experience art as a process. The OWLS Lab (Observe, Wonder, Learn, and Share) is evolving as well. Students deepen what they study in the social studies, language arts, math, and science curricula with engineering, coding, and robotics projects. Through an ongoing transition to project-based learning, students and teachers collaborate on cross-disciplinary projects; students have age-appropriate, authentic demonstrations of learning where they showcase, share, and celebrate their accomplishments with the greater Westfield community. 

Kiln art room science lab
music room

As a community we are continuing our work ensuring that every community member knows they can bring their full identity to school, their beliefs and experiences are respected, and space is created for them to thrive. The promise of a Westfield Friends’ education is to nurture each and every person’s gifts – their Divine endowment. 

I invite you to join us. Come to an Admissions Event, the Winter Playdate, campus visit, or talk to one of our community members. We look forward to having you help us create the world we seek for children.

hos2

Dr. Margaret Haviland, Head of School

November 1, 2021

 

 

 

The Future We Seek for Children Begins Here

Dr. Margaret Haviland-Head of School

Westfield Friends School finished a successful, uninterrupted in-person, 2020-2021 school year where all students experienced extraordinary learning. Those who came to Westfield from schools completely shut down in spring 2020 received the support they needed to catch up and then learn on pace with returning Westfield students. Westfield teachers were adept at creating warm, laughter-filled classrooms despite masks, social distance, and some classmates attending online through the school’s hybrid program.

Adult friendships and connections were sustained through Saturday coffee playdates, monthly Parent & Guardian Council meetings, fundraisers, and community speakers. Treasured community events such as art shows, holiday concerts, the 8th-grade performance of “A Winter's Tale,” the 3rd & 5th-grade Poetry Slam, the 4th-grade famous New Jersians living museum, and the 2nd-grade play “Antarctic Antics,” were shared through audio and video recordings. ZOOM extended their reach to distant community members who wouldn’t have been able to attend otherwise.

Halloween Guessing 2021For the 2021-2022 school year, we anticipate a fully in-person learning experience. The faculty and staff are building on the successes of the past year and working together to ensure that we deliver what our mission promises to students and their families. As we moved more activities outdoors this past year, we witnessed how giving children time to be outside at the start of each day and in the middle of the day provides them with needed time to stretch, exercise, and safely visit with friends. I was delighted to hear from a parent that when she told her 3rd-grade daughter that  it was too cold to go outside, her daughter responded, “this is nothing, at school we have fun outside in much colder temperatures than this.” We believe this outdoor playtime provided several overlapping health-enhancing benefits as it fostered deep and rich learning opportunities.

Reading aloudWestfield is committed to providing a common learning experience for all students while helping individual children to build on their strengths and improve skills where they face challenges. Westfield students continually prove to be successful and joyful readers of all sorts of genres and thoughtful consumers of various media. We teach effective and powerful self-expression through written and spoken words. Students learn number sense and grow into confident mathematicians able to think through complex problems. We help children become critical thinkers, adept at analyzing and interpreting ideas, topics, and arguments they encounter in this information-saturated world. We have daily community events that give students time to practice leadership across the grades, discuss important events in their lives, learn to appreciate artists as diverse as Bisa Butler and Vincent Van Gogh, appreciate music’s power to move us and to reflect and worship together.  

July 4 parade 2021This coming year, we are excited to deliver our science curriculum in a new science lab. This renovated space will allow all grades to have authentic lab experiences, practicing hands-on methods of scientific inquiry. We are also looking forward to using our new art studios, one for two-dimensional art, such as painting and drawing,  and the other for pottery. We also happily anticipate the ongoing creativity of our OWLS Lab (Observe, Wonder, Learn, and Share) where students enhance what they study in the social studies, language arts, math, and science curricula with engineering and technology projects. We are also expanding project-based learning where students and teachers collaborate on cross-disciplinary projects. These activities will have age-appropriate, authentic demonstrations of learning with students getting even more opportunities to showcase, share, and celebrate their accomplishments with the greater Westfield community. 

As a community we are continuing our work ensuring that every community member knows they can bring their full identity to school, their beliefs and experiences are respected, and space is created for them to thrive. The promise of a Westfield Friends’ education is to nurture each and every person’s gifts – their Divine endowment. 

I invite you to join us. Come to an open house, campus visit, or talk to one of our community members. We look forward to having you help us create the world we seek for children.

Dr. Margaret Haviland, Head of School
July 19, 2021

Teacher Margaret with PreK class 2020-21