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January 31, 2024

By Emma Johnson, Communications Manager

At the Ethical Culture Fieldston School, the emphasis and importance of joy, laughter, and play extends beyond the classroom. Our parents/guardians, students, faculty, and staff are always finding ways  — both intentional and spontaneous — to demonstrate gratitude and excitement for learning and each other. Back in 2019, Linda Kelly P’18, P’20, P’22, P’32, a dedicated parent volunteer, initiated the idea for the first-ever Family Game Night, creating a new and beloved tradition for the Fieldston Lower community.

On a chilly, snowy Friday evening, families came together in the Fieldston Upper dining hall for the third annual Game Night. The lively and friendly competition indoors radiated a contagious warmth even with the freezing temperatures outside. This year, families from the Ethical Culture division were also invited to Game Night, encouraging interdivisional community building. “The cafeteria was full of joy! Students from Pre-K through 5th Grade were laughing and chatting as they played with each other,” says parent Game Night organizer Elizabeth Steinke P’32.

Students and families play games together at Fieldston Lower Game Night.

Parents/guardians were pulled into the action, too! “On one side of the room, a fierce Monopoly game pitted a parent against 2nd Graders, and a set of Pre-K students became absorbed in the magic of Candyland, while on the other side of the room, a 4th Grader was leading a round of Bingo while a mom was teaching Ticket to Ride,” adds Steinke.  

Playing games can be instrumental in fostering community bonds but also greatly enhance familial connections and nurture essential skills in children. “Whether you were able to attend or not, now is the perfect opportunity to prioritize spending more time playing games as a family. Not only are they perfect for family bonding, but games also help build your child’s problem-solving skills and refine their motor skills,” explains Fieldston Lower Principal Joe McCauley.

For Kelly, it has been a joy to see Game Night flourish and continue to excite families. She says, “The games have changed over the years, but the energy, buzz, and excitement have stayed the same. One heartwarming thing I noticed this year was a group of fathers bonding over playing the board game Dominion, and a group learned to play Ticket to Ride. Also, a few games changed hands, moving from families with older children to families with younger children! It was a beautiful multi-generational event.” 

Thank you to parent/guardian volunteers Elizabeth Steinke P’32, Tarah Cooke P’32, P’34, Santa Brito-Abreu P’31, P’34, and Helen Gant P’34, P’37, for organizing such a successful and meaningful event!

Parent/guardian volunteers pose at Fieldston Lower Family Game Night