April, 2016 Edition

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Welcome to the April edition of The Downey upBeat, and happy Spring!  Please note: This month’s edition is a bit shorter than normal and contains fewer photos, as we had a short month in March with our two-week spring break.  However, we have many exciting things happening as we enter the final two months of preschool.  Please enjoy catching up on all the details.



Dear Downey Families,

It’s wild to think that there are now fewer than 8 weeks left in the school year!  Or maybe it feels like school has been in session for ages longer than 7 months… Whether you’re slogging through Spring or sprinting towards Summer, we’ve come a long way since that big orientation in August.  Remember that night when returning families greeted old friends, and new families may have felt some shyness, wondering how they were going to keep all these new names straight: names of fellow parents, their kids, and board members doing goodness-knows-what jobs.  There may have been some trepidation when you hit the “my Family Job” table, wondering if your job would prove greater than your ability.  And my hope is, now that we’re seven months in, that you now know that your job was designed with your success in mind.   

As a parent-led preschool, we only succeed if all of our members succeed.  The trick (admittedly often the hardest part) is simply to be a continuing part of our busy community so that we may still grow together in our parenting and also show our kids that the world works better when everyone pitches in to get a job done.  Here’s a look ahead some of the activities that will round out the school year:

*The Rummage Sale is this weekend, and there are still plenty of open slots needing help.

*May 1st is the Church Thank You, where we ply the congregation with hearty thanks, yummy baked goods (get your favorite recipes ready!) and a hot cup o’ joe after their service. There will be a sign up sent out in the next week or two for that.

*Finally, we will be combining a 50th Anniversary Party with our End of Year Party the last week of school.  Stay tuned for more details.

We really are lucky to have such a strong community!  We hear all the time from alumni who are still in touch with the friends they made at Downey 5, 10, 15 years ago.  As always, if you have any questions, never hesitate to ask.



***Stay tuned to next month’s edition for updates on the Polliwogs and the Frogs.  Our teacher is enjoying a much deserved vacation this week.***

Tadpole Tidbits

March winds really blew us into the April showers!  This month, we will focus on Spring, flowers, animals, and weather.

Thank you for the new carpet in the Tadpole room.  It looks great!  Come take a peek.

I will plan a trip to the Irvington library for our first tadpole field trip.  That will be in May.

Happy Spring, and may April showers be few.

Mrs. Egan


What's Happening


In anticipation of our 50th year celebration, we’ve been reaching out to Downey alumni to hear of their stories and warm memories of their days, or their children’s days, at Downey.  It’s exciting when Downey alums stay engaged in the school, and we are very fortunate one such special alum, Brian Shanahan, continues to play a vital role in the operation of our school.  You can learn more by reading his reflections below.  He and his wife, Janell, not only helped to create the Tadpole class, but also the annual Poinsettia fundraiser.  Brian, on behalf of his company, Farm Bureau Insurance, remains our largest customer for our annual plant sale.  I’m sure we all send our warmest thank you to the Shanahans!

“We started with Downey in 1989 when Heath was 3, and he attended in 1990 in the 4’s class.  Evan started at Downey in the 2’s class in 1992 and attended through the 4’s class in 1995.

In 1991, Janell was approached with the idea of starting a 2’s class at Downey and was asked to teach the class.  The only caveat was, the class had to be self-funded and not require any help from the funds of the 3’s and 4’s classes.  We were able to get a donation from Farm Bureau Insurance to help us buy supplies to get the classroom started.  We were able to get 10 children enrolled and held fundraisers independent of the 3’s and 4’s classes.  Between fundraising and tuition, we were able to fully fund the class, buy supplies for the climber unit (labor to build was provide by the parents) and have left over funds to start year two.  Year two, the 2’s class was incorporated into the school, and all funds were combined, and the 3 classes ran as one school.  It was during Evan’s final year at Downey (1995) when the poinsettia fundraiser was born.  We are glad to see it’s still a major fundraiser for the school.

Janell was the 2’s class teacher for two years, and the 3’s and 4’s teacher for 5 years.
During the 5 years we had children in Downey, I served as the Treasurer of the Board of Directors.

We feel Downey’s Montessori style for the children and the educating of the parents is very valuable to a child/family development.  When the children were in school, they were learning to cooperate, participate, and explore their artistic talents.  This was taking place while the children thought they were just playing.  We got to know some great families during our years in Downey.

One of our best memories is the hatching of chicks each year.  The children learned the life cycle of chicks from incubation to hatching.  They learned that not all chicks survived incubation.  Janell would have the children journal each day about the stage of incubation the process was in.  The children loved it and were thrilled to write about the experience.”

-Brian & Janell Shanahan

If you would like to help with the planning efforts for the 50th anniversary celebration, it would be appreciated.  Please just let Mindy or Erin know.  Thanks!



MARK YOUR CALENDARS!  An Infant/Child First Aid Class will be offered and led by certified American Red Cross instructors – April 25, 6-8 pm.  Strictly adults only -$35 fee.  Look for more information by email.


Special thanks to everyone who helped to make both the parent Work Night and the annual Easter Egg Hunt a success!  Here are a few photos of the Easter fun.

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sympathy-clipart-il_340x270.234311595Enjoy the spring weather, and have a great month!


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