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Babies and Young Children
Babies and young children

Reformed Church Nursery School Partners with 'Bundles of Joy' PDF Print Email


By Daisy Hogan Neumark, Parent Writer for The Reformed Church Nursery School

Feb. 22, 2017:  The Reformed Church Nursery School (RCNS) is partnering with Bundles of Joy NY, a not-for-profit 501(c)(3) startup organization located in Bronxville and founded by RCNS mom Adrienne Harper.  

Bundles of Joy provides new moms and babies from birth to 3 years with the essentials they need to thrive. The charity leverages community partnerships to help those in low-income or homeless situations in local neighborhoods.

As a place of extreme haves and have-nots, Westchester County is the ideal location to engage communities that have with communities that are in need.  

There will be a year-round drive at RCNS, with one main collection box. Bundles of Joy also hopes to get local businesses and community interest to host drives either for a day, a week, or a month going forward. Bundles of Joy can also pick up from homes.

Bundles of Joy collects new and “nearly new” baby items through grassroots community drives and corporate donations. Donations are then sorted, bundled, and delivered to disadvantaged children through a network of social service agencies and local hospitals. 

To get involved, please visit to learn how to donate items, host a drive, and further the mission.  

Photo by A. Warner

Chapel School Third-Graders Attend Water Cycle Workshop PDF Print Email


By Kim Zwisdak, Development Office, Village Lutheran Church and The Chapel School

Nov. 23, 2016:  On Friday, September 30, third-graders at The Chapel School visited Stepping Stones Museum for Children in Norwalk, Connecticut.

In addition to exploring hands-on activities in various exhibit galleries, the children enhanced their trip with a water cycle workshop. The students developed an understanding of weather by experiencing the water cycle and exploring when and where they see the steps of the water cycle in everyday life.

They experimented with evaporation and condensation and learned how water affects the world in which we live. They observed where water can be found and what forms it takes. They also organized data that they collected and analyzed a poem to review each part of the cycle. 

Pictured here:  Chapel students at Stepping Stones Museum for Children in Norwalk, Connecticut.

Photo courtesy Kim Zwisdak, Development Office, Village Lutheran Church and The Chapel School

Students Gear Up for Third Annual 'Battle of the Books' at Bronxville Public Library PDF Print Email

By Vivian Conan

Oct. 12, 2016:  Public libraries across Westchester are gearing up for the third annual "Battle of the Books," and Bronxville's teams are feverishly preparing.

Under the guidance of librarian-coaches Erin Schirota and Jessica Veissy, they will duke it out with other libraries' teams on October 15 at Ossining High School.

It's a cutthroat reading competition, complete with a Jeopardy-style buzzer box, where contestants answer trivia questions that test their knowledge of the five books a committee of librarians selected for their age group.

Children—Grades 4-6
Blizzard! The Storm That Changed America, by Jim Murphy
The Fourteenth Goldfish, by Jennifer L. Holm
Rules, by Cynthia Lord
Crispin: The Cross of Lead, by Avi
Gods of Manhattan, by Scott Mebus

Teens—Grades 6-10
Counting by 7s, by Holly Goldberg Sloan
Life As We Know It, by Susan Beth Pfeffer
Dead End in Norvelt, by Jack Gantos
Every Day, by David Levithan
Under a Painted Sky, by Stacey Lee

Team members received their books in the spring and were expected to read them over the summer. Meanwhile, the coaches were formulating hundreds of practice questions for each book. An example: According to Miss Volker, what lasts forever? (Answer: History. From Dead End in Norvelt.)

If the summer reading was solitary, the twice-weekly practice sessions that started immediately after Labor Day are anything but.

The first order of business was selecting team names and T-shirt designs. The ten teens decided on Bronxville Moonlights and will be wearing a black shirt with the image of a moon. The eleven younger children are the Bronxville Broomsticks. Their shirts will be maroon and gold with a broomstick drawn by one of the teens under the slogan "We'll Sweep the Competition."

Now it's drill after drill after drill. "How does Catherine distract David when their Dad is late?" coach Erin asks the Broomsticks. Hands shoot toward the buzzer box and collide in a tangle. There are shrieks and giggles, then a strategy discussion. Contest guidelines state that the answer has to be given by the person who buzzed within ten seconds.

The team decides to have a designated member who can buzz immediately even without knowing the answer, allowing them ten seconds to huddle. The practice is intense, the questions hypothetical. The actual questions are top secret, made up by librarians not affiliated with any team. For the record, the answer to the one about Dad's lateness is "counting cars," from Rules.

Coaches are not above using bribes to keep interest high. The team has to answer twenty-five questions correctly before they can attack a bag of Skittles. There are activities to build team spirit, like a scavenger hunt whose theme is Gods of Manhattan. The gods in the book, some based on real characters, like Alexander Hamilton, some fanciful, like the God of Alternate Side of the Street Parking, are hidden throughout the library, with one Dewey decimal clue leading to the next.

Both the young children and teens get questions to study at home. The teens are also required to write their own questions and grill one another.

On the big day in Ossining, teams from all over the county will do battle from 9:00 am to 3:00 pm. Each age group will be divided into brackets—like baseball leagues—two for younger children, two for teens. After a series of six intra-bracket matches—a match is twenty-five questions—two finalists will emerge in each age group, one from Bracket-A, one from Bracket-B. These preliminary contests are held in classrooms, with several going on simultaneously. There are three breaks to relieve the grueling pace: one for lunch—local businesses donate food and beverages—one for photos, and one for a brain rest.

Then come the finals, where the winner of Bracket-A plays the winner of Bracket-B in each age category. These take place in the auditorium, with the audience, predominantly other teams, coaches, and volunteers, under strict orders to remain silent. Each of the ultimate winning teams, one children, one teens, is awarded a Battle of the Books trophy that will remain on display at their library for a year, until the next Battle, when they will either re-win it or pass it on to another library.

The competition had its origin in the 1940s, with a public radio program in Chicago, The Battle of Books, hosted by Ruth Harshaw. Over the years, the idea of using trivia and games to motivate children to read spread slowly to other states. Westchester, which adopted the game recently, is unique in New York for having a competition for young children as well as teens; other library systems have Battles for teens only. In 2014, Westchester's first year, the children's winner was Bronxville's team, the Bright Broncos. Last year, the children's winner was Bedford's Brainiacs, and the teens, Briarcliff's Awfully Famous and Peculiar Legendary Necromancers (For Now).

Because fire department regulations limit the number of people permitted in the classrooms and auditorium, parents will not be able to watch in person on October 15. Exceptions are the volunteer emcees, timekeepers, scorekeepers, ushers, and greeters. But Bronxville and Eastchester had a practice match last week that parents were invited to, four rounds of twenty-five questions each. Bronxville won, though it was close. One mom said she was struck by how the kids collaborated as a team and supported each another. Another said that when her daughter picked up the five books last spring, she thought she would eventually lose interest, so she’s pleasantly surprised at how enthusiastic her daughter is about coming to the practice sessions.

On October 15, parents and interested parties can follow the live score at Subsequently, pictures will be on the Westchester Library System's Battle of the Books Facebook page:

Reading as an edge-of-your-seat team sport? You bet.

Pictured here:  Student contestants for Battle of the Books.

Photo courtesy Vivian Conan

Reformed Church Nursery School Kicks Off New School Year PDF Print Email

By Daisy Neumar, Board Member, Reformed Church Nursery School

Oct. 5, 2016:  The Reformed Church Nursery School (RCNS) kicked off the school year with exciting outreach events to welcome both new and current families to RCNS. 

The New Family Gathering event took place on a beautiful September 12 morning on the playground beside the school. Many incoming families attended the event, with children ranging from 18 months to five years old.  The event, hosted by the Parent Outreach chairs and the RCNS board, was a great opportunity for new families to meet one another and become acquainted with the school.

On September 17, RCNS held its first Playground Playdate, hosted by director Margaret Murtagh and the RCNS board. The Saturday morning gathering, which included light refreshments, had a great turnout of both new and current families and was a great activity to begin the weekend.

Lastly, the annual Back-to-School Cocktail Party was held at the Bronxville Field Club on the evening of September 23. The event was attended by the RCNS board, teachers, and new and old families, and included hors d'oeuvres, cocktails, and a raffle. The party, attended by nearly 230 people, made for a memorable night that embodies the spirit of our beloved RCNS community.

Pictured here:  Parked strollers at the Reformed Church Nursery School.

Photo courtesy Daisy Neumar, Board Member, Reformed Church Nursery School

Junior League’s Touch-A-Truck Event Returns this Saturday, October 8, to Immaculate Conception Field PDF Print Email

By Deirdre Doheny, Communications VP, Junior League of Bronxville

Oct. 5, 2016: Children will be able to climb aboard everything from a fire truck to construction vehicles at the Junior League of Bronxville's Seventh Annual Touch-A-Truck fundraiser. This year’s event will return to the Immaculate Conception Field, 53 Winter Hill Road in Tuckahoe, on Saturday, October 8, from 10:00 am to 2:00 pm (rain or shine). 

Families will enjoy a day of hands-on play while helping community members who struggle with hunger.  Tickets are $8 per person in advance and $10 per person on the day of the event, with packages available for families of five or more. Children under the age of one attend for free. Advance tickets may be purchased at

Guests are also asked to bring one item of canned goods to the event. "Eastchester Community Action Partnership (ECAP) is honored to be the recipient of the 2016 Touch-A-Truck canned food drive," stated Don Brown, ECAP's director. Mr. Brown shared that "ECAP provides vital services to those in need, including after-school programs, a food pantry, and gently used clothing and furniture, just to name a few.  In 2015 we served almost 9,000 individuals thanks to the support of the community and organizations like the Junior League of Bronxville." 

This year PERSICO, a "Harvester of Hope" sponsor of the Junior League of Bronxville, will return as the marquis exhibitor providing vehicles, attractions, and power for the event.

Additional exhibitors include a helicopter (Westchester County Police Aviation), a fire truck (Eastchester Fire Department), and an ambulance (Eastchester Volunteer Ambulance Corps). The Roaming Railroad's "Trackless Train" will once again be at the event providing rides for $3 per person.

"The Junior League of Bronxville is thrilled to continue its tradition of hosting a family-friendly event that allows it to shine a light on our vision of Stamping Out Hunger in Southern Westchester," said Mitzi Ambrose-Washington, president. "We are truly appreciative of the support of the community, our sponsors, and our members, who make this day possible."

To see additional details, including the most recent list of exhibitors and vendors, please visit All exhibitors and vendors are subject to change. 

Proceeds from this event will support JLB’s mission to fight hunger and promote proper nutrition within its service area of Bronxville, Eastchester, Mount Vernon, Tuckahoe, and Yonkers. 

The Junior League of Bronxville, Inc. is an organization of women committed to promoting voluntarism, developing the potential of women and improving the community through the effective action and leadership of trained volunteers. For more information on the JLB, please visit

Pictured here:  A truck to be climbed at the Touch-a-Truck event.

Photo by Michelle Schoulder

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