The Brick Church School

Welcome to the Fall 2023 issue of Brick by Brick, The Brick Church School’s newsletter for parents and grandparents of alumni, adult graduates, friends of the school, and our current families. It is our pleasure to share a window into the current life of the school, with highlights from our classrooms and special school events, as well as updates about alums, and ways to stay involved in our vibrant community.

Greetings from Marie


Dear Friends,


As Thanksgiving approaches, all of us at Brick are reflecting on how much we have to be thankful for, and something that comes up over and over is how thankful we are to be a part of this special community, a community that includes all of you. I am grateful to have the opportunity to share a peek into the daily life of the school with you in this new issue of Brick by Brick. I hope you enjoy it!


Wishing everyone a very Happy Thanksgiving,

Marie Fabian, Director

Meet Our New Faculty

Brick Brings Local Authors to the Community


Fall Event

In partnership with the Parents League of New York, the school hosted award-winning journalist Jennifer Breheny Wallace for a conversation about her critically acclaimed book Never Enough: When Achievement Pressure Becomes Toxic – and What We Can Do About It.  Wallace's book, based on extensive research, examines toxic achievement culture and its impact on children and families, and provides parents with tools to help raise healthy achievers. She co-founded the Mattering Movement, an organization dedicated to "help[ing] parents, students, and teachers untangle self-worth from achievement." Wallace and her husband are raising their three children in NYC. This September event was very well-attended by parents, educators, school administrators, and others from Brick as well as the larger independent school community. We were so pleased to be able to provide the opportunity for this important conversation.


Winter Event

We look forward to hosting Daisy Dowling, executive coach and leading expert on working parenthood, to discuss her highly acclaimed book Workparent: The Complete Guide to Succeeding on the Job, Staying True to Yourself, and Raising Happy Kids, here at Brick in January 2024.  Dowling is the Founder & CEO of Workparent, the coaching, education, and community-building firm with the mission to "provide working mothers and fathers, and the organizations that employ them, with the information and tools they need to succeed – and to take dignity and pride in doing so." The premise at the center of both her book and her firm is Dowling's belief that "all working parents can succeed on the job and remain true to themselves while raising terrific kids." Dowling and her husband are raising their two young children in NYC. We are very excited to bring this conversation to our families, faculty, and the wider community in the new year.

Classrooms in Action

Through the process of classroom visits and a gradual orientation schedule, teachers crafted each step of the early days of school in September to ensure the smoothest start to the year possible. Our youngest learners, the children in the Twos Program, brought in special family boxes to learn about each other and build community, assist with separation/transitioning, and give the children an extra special place in the classroom!

Children in the 4/5s took a walking trip to Central Park to collect natural materials. Later that day, the children created sculptures! Some recreated a scene with trees and rocks, some made designs by sticking acorns in the clay in a circle, and some took on challenges like making a stick stand straight up with a ball of clay on the end. Everyone enjoyed revisiting the sight, feel, and smell of the materials.

Action and fun have been in full swing on the rooftop and garden playgrounds! From climbing and sliding, to sandbox play and tricycle riding, everyone is enjoying their daily outdoor playtime.

Where Are They Now: Catching Up with Brick Alumni

 

Celebrating Four Generations of Connection to The Brick Church School  

 

When James (Jimmy) C. Edwards, returned home to NYC after serving in WWII, he found himself in need of someone to talk to, to help him process what he had been through in the war. It was not easy for him to open up about his experience, but he found comfort in speaking with the Rev. Paul Austin Wolfe, Senior Minister at The Brick Church and founder of The Brick Church School. Pastor Wolfe served as an important support to Jimmy and they developed a very special relationship. 

 

When Jimmy later married, he and his wife Sally raised their two children, James C. Edwards Jr., who goes by Jim, and Anne Dunwoody (née Edwards) at Brick, and Jim and Anne attended the nursery school in the late 1950s. To this day, Jim has many fond memories from his childhood of being at Brick. He credits Brick with instilling in him his lifelong love of music.   


As an adult, Jim and his wife Barbara also chose to raise their family at Brick and sent their three daughters, Lorrie, Caroline, and Courtney, to the school in the early 1990s. One event that was a highlight for the family was the Christmas Sharing Party. For the Edwards family, helping with this party was a meaningful way to give back to the community. Families in need would come to Watson Hall to pick out gifts for one another to be exchanged on Christmas. When the Edwards moved out of the city, they brought the tradition with them and started a Christmas Sharing Party at their new church in Connecticut. 


Just like her dad, Courtney has many happy memories from her years as a student at Brick. She especially remembers one teacher, Mrs. Bennett, whom her family kept in touch with for many years. Courtney has also stayed in touch with many of her Brick classmates and recently attended the wedding of one classmate where the largest group of friends in attendance were friends since their days at The Brick Church School. 


Courtney was excited to rejoin the Church with her husband, Matthew Kahn, and they now enjoy being parents at Brick with their daughter, Charley, who is in 3 North AM. When applying for Charley, Courtney found the school to be familiar in some ways and new in others, a place still grounded in the same values and traditions, but with wonderful additions to the program and an expanded student body. Charley loves school and shares many details about her days, including vivid descriptions of books that have been read in the classroom. She is eager to go to Brick each day and Courtney credits this to not only the wonderful curriculum and program but also how well the teachers know the children, seeing each one as an individual and knowing them for who they are and what makes them special. She is so happy that Charley, and one day her younger daughter, Emma, will continue to experience the longstanding traditions she enjoyed as a child, while also benefiting from Brick’s ability to recognize and embrace changes that are right for the school moving forward. 

The Importance of Clay at The Brick Church School


Clay is such a versatile and exciting medium to share with children. It comes from the earth and is squishy and malleable, making it very engaging. It enhances growth in many areas of development: physically, emotionally, and cognitively. Clay can be both stimulating and calming. The physical pleasure of handling the clay is complemented by its open-ended nature, making it an intuitive activity in which every child can feel successful.


Recently, our faculty engaged in some clay work of their own in our beautiful Studio with Brick’s fabulous art teacher, Caren Shayne. This experience, one of the many in-house professional development opportunities provided for our teachers, was an opportunity to expand our knowledge and skills with this medium, while also providing a lively and engaging time to explore our own creativity and find inspiration in the materials provided for use with clay.


Bringing clay into all our classrooms, in addition to having clay experiences in the Art Studio, is one of many ways in which our students benefit from hands-on learning to promote their development in multiple domains. To learn more about clay at Brick, please click here.


Please see some additional highlights below from the broad range of meaningful professional development opportunities our teachers have participated in over the past several months.


  • The 19th Annual North American Reggio Emilia Alliance (NAREA) Conference and Study Week in Atlanta, Georgia.
  • Bank Street Graduate School of Education Presentation, “Make-Believe Gun Play in a World of Gun Violence,” by Nicole Limperopulos, EdD, Director, Leadership Partner Programs and Course Instructor.
  • Fall Professional Development Day: The entire faculty participated in a refresher course in Learning Without Tears, the multisensory curriculum Brick uses to introduce letter and number formation as well as a wide variety of reading readiness skills. 

Upcoming Community Happenings


Book Fair and School Store | December 5th and 6th

Shop the favorite books of each classroom teacher and specialist - great gift ideas for all the preschoolers on your holiday gift list! Browse the School Store and stock up on Brick merchandise for you and your loved ones!


Christmas Chapel | December 20th

Our annual Christmas Chapel will be a joyous celebration of the season with festive songs performed by the classes.


3rd Annual Blood Drive | January 19

Join us in donating blood on January 19 - celebrating the life of Breck Denny ('94) and saving lives in the New York area.


Giving to Brick


Please consider supporting Brick’s 2023-24 Annual Appeal. Your involvement and support are instrumental in helping us maintain the level of excellence in the education we provide to our students. All gifts are deeply appreciated, and no gift is too small. Participation is a powerful demonstration of our shared commitment. Please join us in supporting the Annual Appeal. Reach out to Susan Johnson with any questions.

Donate Now

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To update your contact information, share an update on an alum, or to let us know about someone who would be interested in receiving Brick by Brick, please email dayschool@brickchurch.org.  

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The Brick Church School

212-289-5683

www.brickchurchschool.org

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