Be an ECFS insider! Get more stories straight to your inbox.

February 24, 2023

By Emma Johnson, Communications Manager

At Fieldston Lower, Family Visiting Day has been a cornerstone of community bonding and memory making for many years. Unfortunately, this event — where families are invited to spend the day attending classes with their children — had to be put on hold for two years due to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

“After a two-year hiatus, bringing back a beloved Fieldston Lower tradition was incredibly heartwarming,” explains Fieldston Lower Principal Joe McCauley.

The hallways were bustling with excitement —  and many “oohs and aahs” — as family members witnessed the experiential and thoughtful learning that takes place each day at Fieldston Lower. One parent in the woodshop exclaimed, “look at all of the cool things they’ve built,” while examining a shelf of handmade tic tac toe boards, toy cars, and more.

McCauley shares, “I really enjoyed seeing students’ sense of pride in sharing their school experience with their loved ones. It was clear that parents/guardians, grandparents, and caregivers had just as much fun as the students! Watching adults engage in mathematical problem solving, grapple with design challenges, and practice their Spanish were highlights for me.”   

In one classroom, 3rd Grader Abigayle W. ’32 was working on a project with her mom, Gayle, who says that she “feels the magic of Fieldston Lower today. I love to see my daughter in her element.”

The wonderful faculty and staff at Fieldston Lower prepared many fun activities for families to engage with. In 1st Grade Teacher Maddalena Loeb’s class, students were dissecting owl pellets with their family members. 

“It is an empowering experience for our students to teach their grownups what they know about birds while learning alongside them to dissect an owl pellet for the first time!” explains Loeb.

Jeehyun C. ’34 and her older brother were able to work together to find several bones, while Clyde C. ’34 and his dad, Tommy, even found a mouse skull! “I loved seeing the students’ and family members’ shared excitement as they worked on this experiment together,” says Loeb. 

Director of Development Rose Turshen and Form III Dean and Fieldston Upper English Teacher Vinni Drybala thoroughly enjoyed spending time with their daughters, Vera D. ’31 and Juna D. ’34.

“It was so fun to explore learning through our kids’ eyes,” explains Turshen, “and to get excited about what they are excited about. I loved seeing their interactions with their friends and teachers. They were so proud of the work, and it was obvious that Fieldston Lower makes learning joyful and enriching for our kids. The assembly had all the warm and fuzzies that you could have hoped for and gave a true sense of our parent/guardian, faculty/staff, and student community. It’s one of my favorite days of the year.”  

Another lasting memory was seeing a group of panting and sweaty parents/guardians walk up the stairs after participating in a P.E. class. McCauley shares, “The competitive spirit of a relay race brought many back to their childhood and also provided an opportunity for some healthy exercise” 

At the end of the day, the community came together for an assembly during which they sang several songs together. “The sing-along at the end of the day certainly reinforced the idea that the Fieldston Lower community loves music,” explains McCauley.

Graphic Design and Website Associate Gina Iacono P’30 P’34 summed up the sentiment felt by all in one perfect sentence: “I want to go to Fieldston Lower!”