Adults and Children in Trust
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May 2015

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May 28th

JJ the Rabbit

Throwback Thursday: JJ the Rabbit

Two years ago, a Cathedral maintenance worker found this precious brown animal, hopping through the Cathedral landscape and nibbling on greenery. The man wanted to give this new friend a home. His landlord felt otherwise. After 2 months of quiet companionship, JJ was asked to move out.

ACT was more than happy to take in the friendly creature that used to share the Cathedral grounds with them! JJ now lives in the south hallway and classrooms of ACT and has a ton of friends. Sometimes JJ plans a game where he tries to chase the kids. He prefers the younger people to adults. Afterschool and Early Years (Preschool and Nursery) take care of feeding him carrots with green stems and leaves. Afterschool makes sure the rabbit is kept groomed, tidies up his cage and tops off his water bottle.

ACT nurtures pets like JJ and his neighboring guinea pigs because they support learning and child development. Children who care for a pet have a chance to develop trust, compassion, self-confidence, responsible behavior and respect for life. Having a pet also teaches life lessons through direct experience with the pet’s life cycle.

This Preschool class has been especially fond of their furry playmates so the teachers have been preparing a surprise bunny gift for each student in next week’s graduation!

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May 26th

Nursery Moving Up Ceremony 2015

Nursery celebrated their "Moving Up" with sweet treats and sweeter performances last Friday, May 22nd.

Short Video via Facebook

Long Video via YouTube

May 21st

Yoga for Early Years

Yoga for the (Little) People!

School-Age Coordinator, Orissa Woods, led a yoga session for ACT Preschool last Thursday.

For the last two years, Orissa has been utilizing yoga for select Early Years programs. Her inspiration comes from ACA annual Camp Conferences and Early Childhood Education courses. In the 2015-16 year, all Nursery and Preschool classes will be enjoying yoga exercises.

Breathing techniques are also incorporated into the activity. These exercises encourage relaxation, manage emotions and can even alleviate respiratory problems, such as asthma.

Orissa loves that sometimes the children go home and want to have yoga moments with their families. They tend to remember the poses because they come with fun names. When Orissa calls for the “Mouse” pose, you can hear little squeaks from the class!

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May 19th

Garden Clean Up

Garden Clean-Up was a snap thanks to old friends and new last Saturday at our Garden Clean-Up Party!

Prospective families, current families and staff from A.C.T. and the Cathedral of Saint John the Divine all lent a hand to rejuvenate our garden after a grueling winter season. Our tillage was complemented with a family-style barbeque and pleasant conversation. Community connections were made. For instance, amidst the socializing, a current ACT Afterschool family and prospective Cathedral School family discovered that their children had shared a Nursery class in the past! We appreciate all who turned out to make this event a success.

Big Thanks to: Leah, Susie& Yul, Molly, Maria & Theo, Michael & Debbie, Michelle & Take, Tom & Ana, Jose & Nancy, Robin (ACT Summer Gardener), Marie, Marlene (Cathedral Gardener), Sarah, George & Gio (Cathedral Maintenance).

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May 14th

Marques Durieux

Throwback Thursday: Marques Durieux & the Sounds of the Minnows Toddler Class

At 4 years old, a “Goldfish” in Ms. Brown’s class at the Cathedral School, Marques started his relationship with ACT, attending programs until he was old enough to take a position as a Counselor-In-Training at ACT Summer Camp. Today, Marques Durieux plays guitar for Minnows students, providing a special part of the new class for toddlers 9 to 18 months old and their caregivers. Pearl, the Toddler Class Teacher, says that the guitar gives the class “extra energy,” and “everyone loves having the music.” Playful sing-alongs and musical story-telling not only hold the toddlers’ attention through the class but keep the adults engaged as well, encouraging a friendly, active, group atmosphere. He says he loves to see the toddlers come up to touch the guitar, expressing their natural curiosity about music and tools.

Marques’ interest in music was first noticed when his mother caught him practicing on his brother’s keyboard at 7 years old. That led to The Juilliard School noticing his talent while he was in Elementary School and inviting him for a two-year program while he was in Junior High School. He recalls ACT Afterschool Program having Club Day every Friday (a day when students can take advantage of a wide variety of clubs and have the autonomy to do exactly what interests them), where he was given the opportunity to construct musical instruments, developing his attraction to music even further. Marques suggests that parents let children explore different sounds and instruments to find out their interest. Don’t go overboard with practice, but do fight through the frustration, he counsels. Marques believes that frustration is a physical boundary between when your brain is struggling to grasp a new skill and when it takes it to the next level. He says that you should see frustration as only the fun part before what you are doing becomes more fun.

Marques plays 6-string bass with The Bryan Durieux Project. See their sound at His goal is a large-scale music tour to schools and universities.

He also is Founder and Executive Director of M*A*P (Music Arts Production), a nonprofit initiative that develops a unique environment of musical creativity, discovery and learning in schools with engaged Production Specialists that encourage innovation and experimentation in “Creation Stations.” M*A*P was made for TSKEY, which stands for Teachers, Students, Knowledge, Entertainment & Youth – as well as for his 4-year-old son "Toranosuke" (his nickname is "T'skey").

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May 12th

Garden Clean-Up

Garden Clean-Up Party this Saturday

Exploring the world of nature introduces young adventurers to science, creative expression and ecological responsibility.

After a long and arduous winter, our garden is in need of some TLC before the Nursery, Preschool, Afterschool and Camp groups can dig in once again.

We are calling experienced and novice gardeners alike. Join us on Saturday, May 16th, between 10:00 AM and 1:00 PM, and help us give the garden a spring cleaning!

We will prune away dead and damaged branches, rake the garden, repair the beds, reset the bricks, turn and add soil to all the beds, landscape, add mulch, plant some perennials and annuals – just to name a few tasks.

RSVP to, indicating Garden Party in the subject line. On Saturday we will meet by the garden. Tools, gloves and water will be provided. At 1:00 PM we will have a BBQ with all-beef hot dogs, grilled cheese sandwiches and cold drinks

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May 7th

Reggie Alexander

Throwback Thursday: Reggie Alexander

Reggie has been appreciating the value of working with children since 1995 -- motivated by the joy of watching their growth before his eyes and being told years later how the little things he did really meant a great deal.

Reggie spent 15 years employed at ACT Summer Camp – from Counselor to Specialist to Coordinator. Reggie remembers that ACT Summer Camp positions taught him leadership as it applies to the New York City scene: how to relate to a variety of children and parents. Growing up in East Harlem, he was only among people of only one culture. At ACT, he experienced different customs and rose to the challenge of communication across a diverse community.

Sports were a passion. However, how he describes his role in implementing sports training shows that it was not simple. The trick, he explained, was to turn drills into games so children would have fun while they were learning at their level. He planned a variety of one-to-one and small games to promote skill progression enjoyably. Reggie shared, “I remember numerous occasions when campers, in particular those who were less than athletic (those were the ones I enjoyed teaching the most) would request to play a game I put together. One particular game was baseball played with a tennis racquet and gator skin balls. It was fun for the campers because everyone could make contact where they couldn't with a conventional bat and ball.”

As Supervising School Aide/Dean at PS 75, Reggie has enhanced the skills he had put to use at ACT. He manages the school day structure, participates in one-on-one counseling and problem-solves complications with a calm head. A regular part of his day can be rationalizing with students whose emotions are running high. His take on it? Don’t take it personally. He encourages them to express their feelings. Reggie says they are usually so caught up into it that they may not see the whole story. He relates to their pain while gently helping them to see where they could have had a part in the situation.

Check out these Superhero pictures! Those photos were taken during our Summer Camp Carnival Days, where campers and counselors create their own theme-based amusement park on the ACT grounds, complete with games, rides, jobs and play money for 2 exciting days. Reggie said he liked that at ACT he could come of his shell, have fun and not take himself too seriously.

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May 5th

Cinco de Mayo

Do you know the real story of Cinco de Mayo?

Alex, one of the ACT staffers from Mexico, explains that this date is important to him because he is from Puebla, the Mexican state that was victorious against the French on this date in 1862. This was a “David and Goliath” story, he describes, where a small state was able to triumph over the impressive army of a country. While this battle was not the end of the war, it is a significant moment for the resistance movement, which fully dislodged the French siege six years later.

Alex, an ACT Assistant Teacher, and the 3-day Nursery class delighted in some sun and fun in sombreros while he educated them in some tidbits of Mexican tradition.

Today, ACT Afterschool will be observing Cinco de Mayo by busting piñatas, constructing veggie tacos for snack and learning to dance the Mexican Hat Dance.

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