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Class of 2016

Well, it’s that bittersweet time of year when we say goodbye to our graduating members of Friends Corner.

Jay, Marlon, Myrto, Ioli, and Angelos are moving on to school in September. This past week marks their last few days in our clubhouse.

It is hard for me to imagine Friends Corner without these very special kiddos. They each have made their own strong and unique impression in our community.

We caregivers often consider how we influence and guide our children. Lets be mindful of everything they bring to light through our time with them.

Jay

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Jay brought a bundle of energy into our playgroup! He was just about the best drummer around in music class, loved to climb (dangerously) high, and ran like the wind.  I will never forget when he came to rescue my daughter stuck in the tunnel of the swing set! Jay grew up in Friends Corner, and his presence as one of the oldest members helped make our playgroup feel like a home.

Marlon

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Marlon’s creativity and dramatic flair are second to none. At times he could work on an activity with such focused, quiet intensity- and the next minute he was bouncing of the walls with a new idea. He loves role playing and using his imagination. Marlon also bears an impressive amount of knowledge about animals and geography. Come visit us from England soon!

Myrto

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Myrto graced Friends Corner with her very gentle presence. She radiated kindness and was notably sensitive with fellow children. Every Tuesday, Myrto requested her favorite song during music class:”To Daxtilidi” (The Ring) and knew the words to all of Lily’s songs. She took great care and pride in her art projects, displaying striking creativity!

Ioli

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I will always remember Ioli running barefoot around Friends Corner with such sprightly energy. She has a notably inquisitive nature- she is always curious and exploring something new. Her favorite song is “koukouvagia” and Ioli is one of the best dancers in music class! She is an independent, strong, and sweet character.

Angelos

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Angelos’ cheery spirit truly shines through those bright blue eyes. He learned to walk in Friends Corner- holding on to the furniture at first, then soon becoming extremely agile and strong.  He enjoyed time with his best friend Leonidas speeding on bikes, climbing, and working on art projects. His sense of humor and playfulness brought a lot of fun into our play space.

 

Reflecting on the presence and character of these children has been a delight. We are sad to say farewell, but it is of comfort to know that they will carry the memories and sense of community with them wherever they go.

The experiences children have in their early years are incredibly important and influential. Our community is proud and privileged to have been a part of these little ones’ lives.

 

 

 

 

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Happy News & Musings on Music

I am very pleased to open this week’s blog with happy news!

Another member has joined our Friends Corner community…Sarah I. has given birth to a baby girl!  Her name is Ophelia. She and Yiannis are thrilled, and savoring this time with their precious new daughter. I’m sure Leonidas will be a protective and sweet older brother to his new sister.

It’s been lovely to be in Sarah’s company throughout her pregnancy. We were able to share in her joys, excitement, and feelings throughout the journey; hopefully we also offered some support.  We can’t wait until our new member is ready to join us at FC.

Coincidentally, it is actually Sarah who gave me the idea for this week’s musings. This past Tuesday while Ms. Lily started setting up for the music class, she nudged my attention towards the kids. We observed the children preparing for the performance by arranging their seats close to one another, then choosing, and passing out instruments. We appreciated and took pride in their initiative and cooperative spirit.

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Research confirms the many benefits of music participation for children. Our little ones improve their large and small motor skills, balance, sense of rhythm, language ability, and express emotions through musical experiences. Neuroscientists assert that children involved in music actually use more of their brain long term.

We witness these sort of physical and mental exercises each week in Ms. Lily’s class. The children explore movement through dance, discover cause and effect while using instruments, and enhance their vocabulary and sense of concepts through song lyrics.

I could go through a laundry list of how children’s brains are amplified through music education.

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But I find it more special to note that in that moment, we simply celebrated the joy and tender collaboration of the kids. As we all know (sigh), toddler behavior takes much patience and understanding as children learn how to navigate their big emotions and social skills. This sustained sense of peace between the children was notable and a moment to cherish.

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We will continue to admire the way our children mature and learn. Staying mindful and grateful of these sweet reprieves make the more difficult moments worth it!

Before bidding you all adieu, I must give a proper tribute to all the fathers out there. Happy Father’s Day to the Dads who shower their kids with love and are true partners in parenting. We appreciate and value you!

Comment below and share with us how you spent Father’s Day, or tell us your thoughts about music education for children.

 

 

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Welcoming Summer!

 “Summer afternoon—summer afternoon;

to me those have always been the two most beautiful words in the English language.”

-Henry James

 

This week, we spent five lovely summer afternoons at Friends Corner welcoming the new season and enjoying the shaded outdoor space.

The summer program is in full swing, which means we have replaced the daily scheduled activity with free play. The children naturally gravitate outdoors, and we provide sensory activities that correspond with the season.

Ms. Lily’s captivated her audience outside. The kiddos danced…

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ran with mischief…

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energetically rocked, side by side…

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reached new heights…

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and explored shaving foam paint. The kids created their very own sea waves!

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The warmer weather opens so may opportunities for our kids to connect with nature. In the coming weeks, we will encourage water play and learn about herb plants and gardening.

Join us in the sunshine.

 

 

 

 

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Farewells and Introductions

Last week, Cat bid us farewell in her last blog post as Vice President of Friends Corner.

It is with a heavy heart that we all say goodbye to our dear friend, along with her partner George and darling children Maisie and Marlon.

Cat brought the same vitality, positivity, and generosity of spirit to the blog as she did to our playgroup. We’re all going to miss her booming voice, kinetic energy, and homemade bread and sweets.

On a personal note, Cat brought much to my life through our time together at Friends Corner. She helped me feel a sense of peace and hope in moments when I struggled with self-doubt as a mother. Her kind words and assuring smiles gave me confidence. Cat continues to teach me that love is the opposite of fear. That has been a great gift to me, as well as to my daughter.

She also happened to cut me the hugest piece of pavlova dessert at my first Friends Corner bazaar! That alone won Cat a huge place in my heart.

We wish her family much joy in this new exciting chapter in their lives.

 

For those who don’t know me, my name is Evie. I am the new Vice President of Friends Corner, and I will write the weekly blog for our community.

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I first brought my daughter Fay to FC when she was 6 months old. My only expectation was to offer Fay a few fun sensory experiences with other children.

Each Tuesday I cradled Fay in my arms as we listened to Ms. Lily sing and play the guitar. Sensing my shyness, a few Moms offered warm, encouraging smiles as my eyes trailed the room. I didn’t know the songs, but Fay and I moved to the rhythm. We eventually learned the melodies together, week after week.

My tepid expectations were exceeded by leaps and bounds.

I was welcomed into a community of families who take the time to listen because they care, families who understand both the bliss and anxiety of raising children, and families who can have a laugh and help you unwind.

I’m simply grateful.

I look forward to sharing the unique personalities of our group, along with all the moments of wonder, enthusiasm, laughter, and cheerful chaos during our time at Friends Corner.

Thanks for humoring the sentimentality in this first post of mine! It couldn’t be helped.

We have lots of changes coming up with older members leaving and a general changing of the guard. Our new president Vicky has some fantastic plans up her sleeve for the next year. I promise to get into all of that soon.

Now I’m off to help set up for today’s Tea Party Boot Sale! I hope to see you and your kiddos there.