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Fall 2012 Volume 19

Spruce Street Nursery School Newsletter

Welcome to School! Fall is my favorite season. The excitement I feel at the start of a new school year propels me headlong into the bustle of coffees, projects, field trips and curriculum nights. I wander through the school and see children finger-painting, molding play-doh, reading stories and drawing in journals. After the languid days of summer, the return to cooler days and familiar routines is exhilarating. Already the Oaks have taken their annual trip to the Post Office, and the Maples have played “I Spy” from the top of the Prudential. The Willows are exploring the baseball field and their classroom, and the Acorns are busy making new buddies and trusting new grown-ups. The occasional tears at departure have been short-lived, and the new parents are holding up remarkably well! Entering the school today, it smells of the pumpkin cookies the Oaks are baking, and the rain against the windows reminds us of how glad we are to be inside this cozy school. The Maples are going to the gym, and the Willows have a dance party planned. Life is good! As another autumn rolls on, I reflect on how lucky I am to be part of a place that is so magical. Thank you, and Happy Fall!

Yours Always,


Fall at Spruce Street: Fostering Community At Spruce, we seek to foster a strong community within our walls while reaching beyond our small school into our greater community. In support of that commitment, we asked families to donate books to Room to Grow, an organization that helps mothers living in poverty throughout their pregnancy and into the child’s first three years of life.

“So, please, oh please we beg, we pray, go throw your tv set away, and in its place you can install a lovely bookcase on the wall.” - Roald Dahl

As a culture, however, our appreciation for pages and print is lessening. Increasingly, children are given opportunities to learn through electronic media and downloadable content rather than through traditional paper books. At Spruce, traditional books have always been some of the most important and adored of our teaching materials. Children learn to love books, not only through their stories and pictures, but through the crinkle of their pages, the crack of their bindings and their familiar smell. Our children pore over books with friends and teachers, looking at pictures, asking questions, deciphering words. Little hands learn to handle pages with care, return books to their proper places and organize them by size or theme. Traditional books offer a full sensory and social experience that electronic devices simply can’t replicate.

One of the statistics cited by Room to Grow is a startling one: children born to middle-class families are read to 1,0001,700 hours by the time they get to Kindergarten, whereas children born into poverty are often read to just 25 hours before Kindergarten. The importance of reading to your child goes beyond the obvious exposure to letters and numbers; the closeness you experience when a child is sitting on your lap looking at a book is a powerful bonding experience. As children grow, the conversations you share about stories grow too, and the opportunities for learning about other places, people and perspectives is deepened.

As we gather our outgrown baby books, let’s remember their importance to us and to our children during those very early years. And as our children grow and become increasingly reliant on technology for their education and pleasure, let’s not lose sight of the continuing importance of interactions with both books and one another.

Congratulations Kristin and Ashton

Heard on Spruce Street Every Fall the Oak students take a field trip down Charles Street to visit community helpers in the neighborhood. This year the Oaks visitied the Post Office where Mary, the postal worker, took them on a tour of the building. We asked the Oak students how they are community helpers. Here are their responses:

..Leah: By doing things nice to people. ..Lexi: I’m a happy doctor. ..Mahdi: Being kind. ..Lorenzo: I’m a fireman who puts out fires. I want to be the chief.

..Nicky: By helping mom cook. ..May: By letting the cars stop so people can cross the street.

On Saturday, August 11, 2012, Kristin Lyon (Current Maple teacher) married Ashton Jones at her parents’ farm in South Londonderry, Vermont. It was a rainy and romantic afternoon when the bride and groom arrived on horse-drawn carriages to say their vows. Fortunately, the rain let up for the photos, and it turned out to be a majestic evening filled with dancing and laughter with close friends and family, culminating with a spectacular fireworks show.

Saturday, October 27th Admissions Open House Thursday & Friday November 8th & 9th Parent-Teacher Conferences November 21st-23rd Thanksgiving Holiday

December 21st-January 4th Holiday Break

Spend the Day at Extended Day!


..Luke: I help at home with my dog. ..Story: I’m a fire fighter. ..Chloe: I help Chase make silly faces

We are excited to welcome Kelly Grondin and Lauren Jaquin to Spruce! Kelly, a graduate of the University of Maine with her degree in Music Education, joins Al Hogan in the Acorn Room, much to the delight of the Acorns. Lauren, this year’s Float Teacher, is a former nanny to many Spruce families and a graduate of St. Lawrence. Both come to us with preschool experience and tremendous energy and creativity!


Saturday, December 8th Holiday Party

..Devin: By getting the mail with my

Teacher Updates

Extended day is a wonderful opportunity to extend your child’s social and cognitive growth at Spruce Street. In this small multi-age group setting children comfortably and confidently engage in free play, snack, meeting and book time, and work on a thematic based project.

when he gets shots.

..Wally: By doing things nice to my

sister and helping her get dressed.

..Alexis: By doing things right.

The units for the remainder of 2012 are: Circus, Halloween, Science/Discover, Lords, Ladies, and Dragons, and Music and Movement. Your child will love connecting with different friends and teachers after school so sign up today in the elevator vestibule!

We would also like to welcome the marvelous Madeleine Olson to our front desk. A graduate of Smith College, Madeleine is a Bar Method teacher and actress when she is not at Spruce. We are delighted that Madeleine is the friendly face everyone sees first thing in the morning!

Thank You Spruce Families! We are thrilled to report on the success of the 2011-12 Annual Fund. Once again, we had a fantastic year! We raised over $143,000. More importantly, over 87% of our current families, as well as 46 alumni and friends, participated in last year’s Fund. Thank you for your extraordinary generosity! We have officially launched the 2012-13 Annual Fund with the goal of achieving 100% participation from our current families. Please consider a gift of any size. To capitilize on tax benefits for the current year, please submit gifts by December 31st.

Alumni Family Tree Nola Dickie ‘12 and Charlie Casler ‘11 are enjoying being in the same Kindergarten class at Woodland Elementary in Weston. There is nothing better than having an old Spruce friend to rely on in a new and different place! Kate Santoro writes: All is well! Ryan ‘04 just turned 14, Grace ‘05 is 12, Will ‘10 is 8 and Lucy and Riley are 3, so I feel like I am out of the woods! Life is much easier now. We love living on the waterfront, and there are nice people over here. Ryan and Will are at Fessenden. Grace is at Park Street School and applying out this year. We miss Spruce a lot, but the twins are going to Park Street twice a week in order to help streamline our school schedule. Thanks so much for reaching out. Lots of love from all the Santoros. Former teacher Hannah Childs writes from CT: The kids are all well. Mac, 9, is all sports— lacrosse, soccer, tennis, squash—just like his dad. George, 7, is my little creative bee— loves art and music, though tries to keep up with his big brother, and Thayer, 6, is a good mix of the two—very athletic but loves her imaginative play, too. All started at Pine Point School this year, and we are loving it. Work with my design firm has been busy. I moved into a great studio/office space and have a bit of retail space there, too. My webesite is I am also involved with an amazing theraputic riding organization here, High Hopes, and am on the board of the Florence Griswold Museum. Jamie is a residential realtor still and doing really well. It’s been a great fit for him, as he can also be at soccer games and helping with car pooling, etc. Here is a picture of me with the kids last summer.

Former Spruce parent Matina Madrick writes from Santa Barbara, California: The kids are doing well, Sammy ‘11 is in public school here in first grade and Harry ‘11 is in Pre-K. They love California (thier parents are not so sure). They play tennis and swim and go to the beach every weekend. They have definitely adjusted to the outdoor, laid-back lifestyle. Harry is a sports fanatic, constantly wanting to play baseball, soccer or tennis. Samantha has gravitated towards gymnastics and tennis. They both enjoy school although Samantha finds recess a bit daunting, and Mom and Dad are pretty sure that California standards are—shall we say, politely—lacking. Please reach out if you ever make your way to Santa Barbara! Current and alumni Spruce Street friends gathered at alumni family McWeeny’s household for a fun day at the pool. Friends included (first row from left to right): Jack McWeeny ‘10, Lilla Velander ‘08, Cece Velander ‘06, Anders Lewis (current Maple), Griffin Callaghan ‘07, Adriana Chase ‘07, and Lilly Chase. As well as (second row left to right): Jameson Callaghan, Tessa Lewis ‘11, Gage McWeeny ‘07, Anna McWeeny ‘08, Elena Chase ‘08, Delaney Callaghan ‘06, and Ava Lewis ‘09.

Mary Dowdle, photographer and mom of Spruce alumni Margaux ‘06, Jacqueline ‘07 and Colin ‘10, has a new title— published author! Mary’s new book, coauthored with Lise Friedman, is titled Becoming a Ballerina: A Nutcracker Story. The book tells the real-life story of a young Clara in the Nutcracker. Featuring Mary’s amazing full-color photographs, Becoming a Ballerina hit the shelves on October 11 and can be found locally at Red Wagon on Charles Street.

Former teacher Sarah Mitchell Doyle writes: Ivy joined our family on May 11, 2012. Big brother Finn (four) and big sister Molly (two and a half) are in love, as are Shane and I. This September I began my doctorate in Educational Studies at Lesley University, focusing on social media and education. This does not mean that the days of “Silly Sarah” have gone by the wayside; I will just be Dr. Silly Sarah when I am through! Former Spruce teacher Taylor McIntire writes: “We had a very exciting summer! William Prescott McIntire delighted us by arriving two weeks early on July 16, weighing 6lbs 5oz and measuring 19in long. While it feels that sleep will never be the same, Pete and I are relishing parenthood and love every second with baby Will. After spending time with so many wonderful children at Spruce, it is so amazing to have one of my own! I miss Spruce everyday, but I am finding my new role of “mommy” to be deeply gratifying and already more rewarding than I could have imagined. These days Will loves singing and dancing to all of the Acorn/ Spruce favorites! Recently he has been working on his smile and is undefeated in staring contests with family and friends! Looking forward to introducing him to everyone soon! Will Drubner ‘03 is 13 years old and enjoying eighth grade at Brimmer and May. He still pals around with fellow Spruce alumni, Jack Madison ‘04, Ryan Santoro ‘04 and Nathan Greene ‘03. Will, who loves to fish, is pictured here with a striped bass caught off the coast of Falmouth this summer.

Send your Alumni updates to


SAVE THE DATE SPRUCE STREET NURSERY SCHOOL’S Seventh Annual Alumni and All-School Ice Skating Party Old and new friends Pizza and drinks Saturday, March 2nd 4 to 6pm Steriti Memorial Rink Boston’s North End

Spruce Street Nursery School

5 Avery Place Boston, MA 02111 617-482-5252

Roots Fall 2012  
Roots Fall 2012