2016

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Dear Family & Friends of Good Shepherd School:

After his son was severely wounded in the Civil War, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow wrote this poem, “Christmas Bells.” Coupled with the recent loss of his wife, Frances, who had died as a result of an accidental fire, Longfellow was inspired to write the powerful words of the little known fourth verse: “God is not dead, nor doth He sleep…” These words were later joined with an 1872 melody composed by Englishman John Baptiste Calkin; “I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day” has been recorded by an eclectic group of artists ranging from Bette Midler to Sarah McLachlan and most recently, Echosmith, with each artist bringing their own unique style to the words and melody.

In Chapter Five of his 1962 novel Something Wicked This Way Comes, Ray Bradbury describes this carol as “immensely moving, overwhelming, no matter what day or what month it was sung.” In the 1983 film version of the novel, Mr. Dark and Charles Halloway both quote passages from the carol, and Mr. Dark ominously states that “it’s a thousand years to Christmas!”

In a child’s eyes, this may seem very true! Although the time until December 25th is slipping away quickly for adults as we run on our imaginary treadmill to send the cards, wrap the presents, bake the goodies, decorate the house, trim the tree, etc., it is very different for children. For them, the time from December 1st through December 25th seems to drag on very slowly or even stand still as they wait impatiently for Santa to deliver those long-awaited presents!

December is another busy month here at Good Shepherd Lutheran School, where time never stands still! Besides learning all of the songs and poems for the Advent Programs, which are being held December 14th and 15th at 5:30 PM, the children are enjoying discussing all of the holidays that each family celebrates. Teachers talk about families, friends, love, giving and sharing. We are lucky to have families from a variety of different cultures/religions who celebrate different holidays; therefore, it is wonderful for us to be able to share holiday traditions and to learn and appreciate likenesses and differences.

December also brings some great events that the PTC (Parent Teacher Club) has planned! Children will get to shop in the Little Elves Gift Shop December 5th through December 8th. This is a beautiful experience for our children, and they are thrilled to buy gifts all by themselves for their loved ones!

The Gingerbread Workshop will be held on December 9th at 7:00 pm. Children and adults alike are welcome to decorate their own authentic Wilton gingerbread house and snap a shot with Santa (aka Bob Rickmeyer). Please do not miss this fundraising event for the school – cost is $15 and slips MUST be handed in by 12/5/16 in order to ensure there are enough gingerbread houses for everyone!

With the weather getting colder, it is imperative that children have adequate clothing for the weather conditions. Teachers enjoy taking the children on nature walks and will continue to do so as long as weather permits. If you are a school parent, make sure that your child’s extra clothes set is complete and that the clothes are appropriate for the weather.

Also, please plan to wrap yourself in the warmth of this season and stop running for a moment to see the joy and wonder through the eyes of a child. Isaiah 11:6 …”and a little child shall lead them.”

We ask that you continue to keep the staff and school families in your prayers.

Peace and Blessings,

Teresa Ratkowski
Director

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December 14th & 15th at 5:30 PM. Love Bugs, Busy Bees, Owls, & older Little Lambs perform on the 14th; Good News Bears, Butterflies, Bunnies, & older Little Lambs on the 15th! Don’t miss this rendition of the Christmas story!

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Dear Family & Friends of Good Shepherd School:

One of my earliest memories is my mother singing the song “Over the River and Through the Woods” to me each Thanksgiving as we were bundling up to go to grandmother’s house. A little known fact is that the author of this song was a woman named Lydia Maria Child, who was one of the earliest American women to earn a living from her writing.

The time to fall back is coming quickly; on Sunday, November 6th, Daylight Saving Time for 2016 comes to an end at precisely 2 a.m. in the morning and won’t return till 2 a.m. on March 12, 2017. We get an extra hour of sleep on November 6th, and while some people don’t like losing the hour of afternoon daylight, the extra hour of sleep is much needed especially during this busy season.

The Good Shepherd Lutheran School is a whirlwind of activities as we move from the Fall Harvest Festival and pumpkin parties into the “Thanksgathering” parties, the tree lighting, and the Advent Liturgies. In addition, there are many Parent Teacher Club sponsored events happening in the school: the Prestige Catalog sale with lots of holiday-themed presents, the Little Elves Gift Shop, a Gingerbread Workshop, and Drop-Off Movie Night, all taking place now and throughout the month of December. Whew! It makes my head spin thinking about the logistics, planning, communicating, etc. It seems we are moving very quickly “over the river and through the wood” into the midst of the holiday season.

The children’s Bible verse for the month of November is: Psalm 136:1 “Give thanks to the Lord for he is good. His love lasts forever.” Please take some time to reflect on what is really important during this month of thanks and also of giving. We hope everyone will appreciate the true meaning of the holiday season as families prepare their Operation Christmas Child shoebox, bring in a coat to be donated or bring in a food donation for each November Chapel on Mondays.

Have you picked up your decorated shoebox to pack for Operation Christmas Child? If we run out of the pre-made decorated shoeboxes, you will still be able to decorate your own shoebox and pack it with presents for either a boy or a girl. Please come by the school office and pick up the packing directions and labels, this is all you need! The packed boxes are due in the school office on November 9th and they will be shipped all over the world to needy children.

The school is also collecting gently-used winter coats beginning in November and throughout the winter months. All coat donations will be taken periodically to the New Life Center in Uniondale, NY, along with the donations of canned food and food staples.

We truly have a lot to give thanks for here; due to an incredible effort by countless people, the Fall Harvest Festival raised a lot of money for us to be able to purchase the new playground fence. In addition, the money will bring even more technology into our school to go along with the new mobile Smart Table and the iPads for each classroom, courtesy of A.J. Jin and Flushing Bank.

Last but not least, we are truly thankful for the children who come here each day with bright smiling faces and to our parents for entrusting their children to us. We ask that you continue to keep the staff and school families in your prayers.

Peace and Blessings,

Teresa Ratkowski
Director

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Sunday, November 27th at 5 PM. Featuring performances from POB/JFK Mixed Choir as well as children from our school. If you would like to consider helping to sponsor the event, please contact us to find out more. We hope to see you there!

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Sunday, November 27th at 9 AM in the school gym. Cost of $10 for materials or $5 if you already have a frame. All are invited to this family event!

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We encourage you to participate in Operation Christmas Child by filling a shoebox with gifts for needy children around the world. Shoeboxes must be returned to the school office by November 9th. We hope you will help to make a difference!

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Dear Family & Friends of Good Shepherd School:

Even though it is 2016, fifty-two years later, the times are still “a-changin’” as in Bob Dylan’s song, just as the leaves are still “a-fallin’” as they do every October. Before long we are going to have beautiful blankets of colors on the ground as well as gold, orange and red leaves on the trees, all a reminder of God’s wonderful art show that happens each and every October.

As all adults know, change of any kind is difficult. Just because something has “always been so” doesn’t make it correct. Hopefully the winds of change that are blowing through the school and are perhaps knocking some leaves off the walls will be seen as positive, just as they are meant to be. It is no surprise that children are much more adaptable to change. I see this for sure each time I go in to teach a music class and see children willing to embrace anything I tell them or ready to sing anything I present. I would not want to change a thing about my music classes; as usual, we adults have a lot to learn from the children.

As far as the other “special” classes, I hear good reports from both teachers and parents. Children have been learning about soccer in sports, about circles and wheels in S.T.E.M. and have been making school buses in art. We have been working on the “Baa, Baa” song in music, which will be a surprise for the Advent Liturgies.

Besides leaves, October is about pumpkins; and everyone is excited about the trip to Schmitt’s Farm on Wednesday, October 19th with a rain date of Wednesday, October 26th. The nursery and pre-k children will ride a tractor-drawn wagon and stop to pick a pumpkin and a vegetable. At the end of the ride is a huge playground! We will not close the school for this trip since Bunnies (toddlers) and Little Lambs (infants) will not be attending. Pumpkin picking will be the order of the day for them also and Bunnies and Little Lambs will have their own “pumpkin patch” near the cottages as they “pick” their pumpkins. It will be a fun day for everyone!

Please plan on coming to the school Open House on October 16th at 12:00 p.m. after church. We would like to “Show-off” our Little Lambs” infant room, so if you have a friend or relative who may be considering this licensed, daycare option, please be sure to bring them to see this beautiful
space!

We ask that you continue to keep the staff and school families in your prayers.

Peace and Blessings,

Teresa Ratkowski
Director


  Good Shepherd Lutheran School
99 Central Park Road
Plainview, New York 11803

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