From the Principal's Desk

Gary Kunschaft 

Gary Kunschaft 

Hello DFS Families,
With the holiday season upon us, one of the highlights is our annual band, strings and 5th grade chorus concert. While conducting our in-school sessions, it is always a delight and quite interesting to watch our student audience naturally bounce and move to the rhythms of each tune, as if something was activated in their inner core by the music. It is a meaningful reminder that school is more than academics; our staff at DFS firmly believes that a well-rounded student is the best version of a future adult. 
Music is a medium that can be enjoyed without a visual; something that is growing more uncommon these days.Listening as a whole is on a downward trend that we are working hard to reverse at DFS.  In younger days I can remember falling asleep most nights to the Yankee broadcast on a radio my grandparents purchased for me as a birthday gift.  There was something exotic about having the sights and sounds of the Bronx brought to my home each night, and to this day Phil Rizzuto’s call of “Holy Cow”, quite often on a foul ball that he thought was a homer, is a staple of my vocabulary.  I could also almost “hear” Bill White, Phil’s radio partner, shaking his head in the background!
Just listening, to a family member, friend, radio, book on tape, or anything else you find interesting, seems to have the effect of centering and calming one’s thoughts.  It is also a lifelong skill that can be used to gain new information, process instructions, or just be a better friend.  So this holiday break, why not kick back and go anti-visual for a bit?  Kick back, turn up those ears, close your eyes, and enjoy the medium of your choice.  Who knows, you might establish some new family traditions that are low stress on the adults in the house!
Have a fantastic holiday break and enjoy the time with your family!
Thank you for your support.  Together we make a difference!

Hello DFS Families,
At our last “Coffee with the Principal” meeting the topic of vocabulary arose. Vocabulary is one of the five essential elements of effective reading instruction, the others being phonemic awareness, phonics, fluency and comprehension. Vocabulary is an expandable set of words of which students know the meanings and correct usage. These words come in both print and speech forms, with the latter being very important to reading success. Beginning readers use spoken vocabulary to recognize words in print, especially when they have to “sound out” a written word.  If the written word they are sounding out is not in their spoken vocabulary, it negatively affects their overall comprehension of the text.  So what can you do at home to strengthen spoken vocabulary?  Here are some simple ideas you can begin using right away.
·        Use grown up words in normal conversations
·        Let your child tell the story at night
·        Converse regularly
·        Play word games like Scrabble, 7 Little Words, Word Stack, etc.
·        Label household items for younger children
·        Provide known comparison words when students ask about an unknown word
In addition to having lots of conversations with your child, don’t forget the importance of nightly reading. The graphic below reinforces the importance of independent reading in a “just right” book which we shared at Back to School Night.  As with any endeavor that requires volume, it is very difficult to catch up once time has passed.

Thank you for your support.  Together we make a difference!

Have a Happy and Healthy Thanksgiving!


Mr. Kunschaft

Dear Daniels Farm School Families & Website Visitors,
I am very excited to kick-off the school year and welcome all of our DFS students and families back after a fun-filled summer. The first few weeks of school can be a challenging transition for students, so please provide a head start by helping your child(ren) get plenty of sleep and continue nightly reading. Our goal is to hit the ground running, ensuring all students reach their full potential by year end.
Should you have any curriculum questions as the year progresses, please feel free to contact me directly or attend one of our bi-monthly Coffee with the Principal sessions to share your thoughts.
Families play a major role in realizing all our school goals. Throughout the year, our teachers and PTA need volunteers for many activities that have a positive effect on our students, both academically and socially. The elementary school age child loves nothing more than seeing teachers and parents working together at school. Grab hold of this unique and fleeting time in your child’s life by taking an active role at Daniels Farm School. Our doors are always open and we consider parents an asset and a partner in the educational process.
Gary Kunschaft