MAESA Matters April 2018

Welcome to this edition of MAESA Matters. MAESA and National Cathedral School h ost the MAESA Scholars Fair on April 27th for 4th-8th grade students. Registration and payment is due April 12 and forms can found here. Talented students from our member schools compete in art and science fair exhibitions, spelling and geography bees and multi-media presentations as well. MAESA is proud to showcase so many bright minds!

Planning for the Early Childhood Conference scheduled for Oct. 26, 2018, is beginning. Please mark the date and encourage your faculty to submit a workshop proposal form. Are you the head of a preschool or primary program? If you'd like to join the planning committee please email maesaschools@gmail.com to join us as we get underway in April.
In this issue hear from Washington Episcopal School nursery teacher Ms. Dawn Harding in "Why I teach in an Episcopal school." Ms. Harding shares her appreciation for the celebration of those from various faith backgrounds within her Episcopal school. Next, St. Paul’s Nursery & Day School in Alexandria, Virginia is marking its 70th year. Hear their philosophy of educating young students for decades in Spread the Word. We'd love to feature one of your faculty members or a school activity in MAESA Matters. Contact us to be included.
MAESA 2018 Events Calendar
April 27, 2018, MAESA Scholars Fair TIME TO REGISTER MAESA is delighted that National Cathedral School will be our host this year. Registration and event details can be found here . Registration materials are due by April 12th. Fourth through eighth grade students compete and engage with one another in categories from science to art, multi media presentations and more on this exciting day. Event entry guidelines are also posted on the website. Please contact Katherine Murphy to volunteer as an event judge or include your name on the registration materials.

September 21, 2018 MAESA Members Meeting at St. Andrew's Episcopal School. This day is open to heads of school, chaplains and all senior staff within our member schools. Our keynote speaker will be Rodney Glasgow, Head of Middle School and Chief Diversity Officer at St. Andrew's Episcopal School, Potomac, MD. Join us to hear about creating meaningful diversity and inclusion programs in your school.

October 10, 2018 at 10am MAESA Episcopal Schools Day Service & Celebration at Washington National Cathedral. This service brings together more than 800 elementary school students within MAESA to worship and celebrate what it means to be a part of an Episcopal school. Please make your calendars early for the next school year.

October 26, 2018 MAESA Early Childhood Conference at St. Stephen's & St. Agnes School lower school campus in Alexandria, VA. MAESA's 2018 conference features teacher-to-teacher workshops for our early childhood educators. MAESA schools have a wealth of talent among the faculty. Please consider asking your faculty members to propose a workshop for the conference. Download a workshop proposal here
"Why I Teach in an Episcopal School"

B y Dawn Harding, Nursery Teacher

I initially visited Washington Episcopal School (WES) with a friend who was applying there to teach. At that time, I had no intention of leaving the friendly little co-op Nursery school where I’d been for the previous four years. Yet, the spirit of both the place and the people was infectious, and during that initial visit I found myself applying for a position in their expanding Early Childhood program. I couldn’t put my finger on it, but there was something different about this school that resonated with my soul. Now, almost twenty years later I can see a little more clearly what it is that draws me to teach here.
My family has always shared a strong sense of faith both in our home and church community. However, growing up I always felt I had to leave that spiritual facet of myself behind when I entered my public-school world. How liberating it was, as a teacher, to discover an Episcopal school where I could freely act on my belief that we are all God’s creations and know that the school shares the philosophy that, “each of us is a child of God with gifts to offer to the others.” My spirituality is a large part of who I am and teaching without it would be like trying to do my job with one arm tied behind my back. I love being encouraged to teach the whole child (physical, emotional, social, and spiritual).
Integrating faith traditions during our school day helps our students to explore this aspect of themselves. I love the fact that even our youngest students, my class of three- and four-year-olds, are included in a weekly chapel service where we share song, scripture, lessons, and prayer. Our chaplain even asks for student input as we pray together for specific people or causes. One of my little guys asked the chaplain to, “Bless everyone who doesn’t have raisins to eat.” I love the fact that this type of true prayer from the heart is encouraged and respected.
We also incorporate a variety of types of prayer in our classroom, inviting students to share their family prayer traditions with each other. As an example, one of our Muslim students ends his prayer over food with the word “Bismillah” which means “in the name of God” before digging into his snack. The rest of the class has decided to join him in this, and my heart sings when I hear 16 other little voices chiming in together with his “Bismillah”. Hopefully, children with this type of love and acceptance for each other’s differences will have a positive impact on the world.
When describing what makes a school Episcopal, the National Association of Episcopal Schools has written, Episcopal schools have been established as ecumenical and diverse ministries of educational and human formation for people of all faiths and backgrounds.” I am a Mormon - a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. And although I don’t share the Episcopal faith, I share the values of that faith. I have felt like my own diversity is more than just accepted, I have felt embraced for who I am. In speaking with other faculty members from a variety of faiths and backgrounds, I have found that many of us feel that same inclusiveness. I think Fred Rogers said it best in his commencement address at Middlebury College, “I believe that appreciation is a holy thing, that when we look for what’s best in the person we happen to be with at the moment, we’re doing what God does; so in appreciating our neighbor, we’re participating in something truly sacred.” And in appreciating our students, faculty members, and entire school community for all their differences, we are truly living our school motto of BE KIND! And I can’t think of any kind of environment in which I would rather pursue my passion for teaching.
"Spread The Word"...news from our schools
St. Paul's Nursery & Day School Celebrates 70 Years!
Alexandria, Virginia
St. Paul’s Nursery & Day School was founded seventy years ago in 1948 with the belief that a child’s natural curiosity and love of play provide an ideal framework for learning. We believe that the years between three and six are the most intensely productive of a child’s life. St. Paul’s children have the opportunity to be challenged, to pace themselves and to excel in ways that fit their own unique development. As we celebrate our seventieth birthday, we are proud that this philosophy has never changed. Our program still serves three year old to five year old children, encompassing a wide variety of activities and learning opportunities designed to meet the needs of each individual child. Our curriculum fosters all aspects of a child’s emotional, physical, social and intellectual development. It features an integrated, hands-on approach to learning. St. Paul’s strives for a balance between the development of language skills, social skills and perceptual/motor skills with art, music, movement, dramatic play, science, cooking, field trips and experimentation.
       Please visit us on our website (stpaulsschoolalexandria.com); at our 70 th Birthday Facebook Page https://www.facebook.com/stpaulsschoolalexandria .
MAESA is proud to share the redesign of our website. Please update www.maesaschools.org in your browser and take a look around. There you will find current and past editions of our MAESA Matters newsletter and MAESA event and program details along with registration forms to download and share with your school.
Let us hear from you!
Katherine F. Murphy 
MAESA Executive Director