28 Oct

Message from Kim

It was great seeing so many Lower School families at the Dining Event on Wednesday evening.  Thanks to Chef Ricardo, Chef Luke, Teri Pisack and, of course, Dr. De Jarnett for hosting this wonderful opportunity for families to learn about the meals that are prepared each day for our students in grades 1 through 5.  Que Magnifique’.

There are many fantastic events on the horizon for the close of October and throughout the month of November.  If there are families that have not yet been in contact with Mrs. Rullo to schedule a parent-teacher conference, please do so as soon as possible.  Conferences are being scheduled for Wednesday, November 2 for students in grade 5 and on Thursday, November 3 and Friday, November 4 for students in grades preschool 3 through grade 5.   Please refer to this week’s Just the Facts for more details about other events such as Project L.E.A.D and the Lower School Book Fair.

28 Oct

Learning About the Lenape

Roni Kanter and Michelle Sussmann

“He!” [pronounced “Hay!”]  means “Hello!”

– from the Lenape languages of Munsee and Unami.

In conjunction with our study of the Lenape Native Americans, third graders visited Winakung at Waterloo Village, in nearby Stanhope, New Jersey. Winakung means “Place of Sassafras,” and as our third graders learned, Sassafras played quite a role in the Lenape culture.

Winakung at Waterloo Village is a re-creation of a typical Lenape village, and this annual third grade trip affords our students the opportunity to further immerse themselves in answering the guiding question, “How does environment shape the lives of its inhabitants and the development of its culture?”

As seen in the snapshots below, students enjoyed seeing, feeling and experiencing so much of the Lenape life they have been learning about in school.  This trip is truly a “hands-on, minds-on, bodies-on” kind of experience in which we sat in a traditional longhouse, ground corn with a mortar and pestle, and practiced working the pump drill, a tool used to start a fire. We heard, saw and experienced so much about Lenape cooking, medicine, clothing, and jobs. We were excited to see a dugout canoe and a Dead Fall Trap up close, and we touched and held all kinds of Lenape artifacts, such as animal skins, tools and pottery.  After enjoying our tour of Waterloo Village on this brisk, sunny day, our tour guide treated us to a dramatic, interactive retell of the Legend of the Sassafras Tree.

Interestingly, the third grade makes this trip to Waterloo Village each year, yet the trip is never the same from one year to the next. What makes it so different each year? It is the sheer delight and enthusiasm of the budding anthropologists and sociologists we bring with us. As Kennedy remarked, “It’s better to feel what we are learning.” Cooper even went home and charted for his parents all of the things he learned and did at each of the areas we visited along our tour! That is precisely how we know, it is worth the trip!

28 Oct

Early Childhood Music program

submitted by Lisa Dove

Enter the music room during an early childhood class, and you may spy giants tromping through the woods, or perhaps you might get caught up in a herd of galloping horses or unicorns. Then again, you may come upon a village of prancing elves or a field of floating butterflies.  The world of the Lower School music room is limited only by the imaginations of its students – which means, for students in preschool 3, preschool 4 and kindergarten, that it is limitless!

One may wonder why imaginative stories and pretend are the focus in the early childhood music classes.  For D-E’s youngest learners, pretending is an immediate entry point to exploring different ways of moving their bodies in space – heavy and slow, light and quick, smooth and sustained.  The body is a child’s first instrument.

Clapping, singing, tapping out a rhythm, dancing with a scarf, galloping a ternary time signature, are all ways a child uses the body to express music and musical movement. As children gain mastery over these physical responses, they develop a strong sense of rhythm and a greater sensitivity to musical nuances.  All of this is foundational for future music study, as well as for fostering a life-long joy with music.

Families – don’t be surprised if a piece of music suddenly brings out a giant, an elf or a floating leaf; you may have a future composer in your home!

14 Oct

What’s Happening in Second Grade?

Submitted by various authors

The second graders are busy at work!  Below is a glimpse of three of their current units in social studies; science and health and wellness.  

Studying the Community:

How do you spell D-E?  C-O-M-M-U-N-I-T-Y!

Our second graders are hard at work learning all about the very special community that we have here at Dwight-Englewood school.  After touring our school campus and watching the video that celebrated D-E’s 125th anniversary during the 2013-14 school year, the students brainstormed the many people, places and things that make up our school.  For the past few weeks, we have been focusing our attention more specifically on the Lower School community.  Our discussions have included the spaces in Drapkin Hall, the students and adults who learn and work in Drapkin Hall each day, and the large variety of tools we use for learning each and every day.

In the next few weeks, the students will be conducting interviews of the adults who work in the Lower School.  The students will be generating questions, conducting individual meetings with people that work in Drapkin Hall, writing a full interview as well as completing a portrait of the person that they interview.   Please be on the lookout for these gorgeous works of art and interviews displayed in the second-grade wing very soon.


A yearly event for the second-grade classes is to adopt a tree.  This year the students are particularly excited about their trees!  After they choose their tree, the children spend some time getting to know their tree through scientific drawings and observations.   Next they research their tree to discover the kind of tree they have adopted.  They also search the ground around their tree for “gifts” that the tree gives them.  These gifts are collected and used as samples in their nature journal and evidence to help them discover the type of tree they have.  They will continue to connect with this tree periodically throughout the year and observe changes that take place through the seasons.  It has been my experience that students remember their trees even when they get to the Middle and Upper schools.

We have also taken a tour of the Upper School garden outside the Hajjar STEM Center.  The second graders took great pride in helping to organize tools, dig potatoes and harvest cherry tomatoes.

Health and Wellness:

During our Health and Wellness sessions, second graders have been discovering how to safely move and work together. We have been doing activities, tag games and challenges that include some very important skills such as following directions, decision making, risk-taking and cooperation. Second graders are now starting to incorporate physical fitness activities and games in class. We are also beginning our fall sports units on flag football and soccer.

14 Oct

Who can make a difference in the world? WE CAN!

Submitted by Ms. Kanter and Ms. Sussman

Three years ago we began our Third Graders Making a Difference program.  It was born from the idea that it is never too early for children to think of others and to make a difference – both large and small; near and far.  It was our hope that in doing so, students would realize that while at first we think we are helping because it will make others feel better, we soon realize that in fact, it makes us happy too!   At the beginning of each month, third graders are introduced to a new group or topic that needs our help.  They learn about who or what this group is, why the group needs our help, and how they – third-grade students – can help.  Each project is child-centered and something that the students can take responsibility for carrying out.


This year, when we launched our September Third Graders Making a Difference project, we sensed a growing enthusiasm amongst the students.  Perhaps it was because they had heard about it during the May assembly or because current 4th graders were talking to them about the fun they had during each month’s project.  It’s hard to know, but what was clear was that the third graders met their new responsibility with a sense of purpose and excitement.

Students were asked to bring in used shoes to be donated to Soles4Souls, an organization that donates shoes to people around the world who are in need of shoes or who can use the shoes to start their own small business, thus providing themselves with much needed income.  Within the first couple of days, smiling students were proudly bringing in bags full of shoes.  They collected them from their own homes, other family members and even by asking neighbors to donate.  By the end of the month, third graders collected a record breaking 503 pairs of shoes!


But it’s not just third graders at Dwight-Englewood who are making a difference, this is clear to see when you walk through the third grade hallway and see two trees that are full of leaves.  At the end of last year, the third graders hosted an assembly at which they asked the entire Lower School to join them and make a difference during the summer.  At the start of the school year, students were reminded of this request and were given a leaf to record their acts of kindness.  The hallway display shows the many acts that were done by so many members of our Lower School community from the 3 year-olds to the adults.  We are so proud to be a part of a community that thinks of, and values, making a difference in the world.

14 Oct

Message from Principal

The October Parent Forums have been very well attended, interactive and informative.

Classroom teachers have excitedly shared their professional insights about the work that the students are engaged in each day.  They have also been able to answer questions before dashing back down to the classrooms.  Thanks to Bev M and Allison H for leading the discussions about being an active parent participant and for sharing important information about upcoming PA sponsored events.  Next week, we look forward to seeing families from grades 3, 4 and 5. Please refer to Just the Facts (click here) for more information about the specific dates and times.


There are two exciting events scheduled for families and parents in the coming weeks.

  • On Sunday, October 23, 2016, the Parents Association will sponsor a fabulous Halloween Party for Lower School families and friends. To view/download the Halloween Party info. flyer PDF click here.
  • On Wednesday, October 26, 2016, Head of School Dr. De Jarnett and Chef Ricardo, our Lower School chef, will be providing an opportunity for parents/guardians to learn about our school’s philosophy regarding lunch offerings.  Pre-registration/RSVP is required for this D-E Dining Workshop; to RSVP click here.  For those who are interested in attending, there is one important requirement – Please come hungry!  After the presentations, all attendees will be able to eat a delicious meal.  Kindergarten families are encouraged to attend. To view/download the D-E Dining Workshop info. flyer PDF click here.

More information about both events can be accessed in Just the Facts (click here)