Virtual BFS Hub

Message from Head of School, Crissy Cáceres

April 5, 2020

As all of us are navigating the newness of what the home and school experience is like at this time, I want to personally express my sincere gratitude for the support and flexibility that our students and families have been exhibiting. None of this is simple, easy, or our usual normal. School, as we have lived it at BFS, is different at the moment. Our city, nation, and world are different at the moment. We are all experiencing varied emotions and increased challenges to grapple with each day. However, I remain hopeful, and I hope that you do too.

Now that I have had a chance to join several zoom sessions with your children to say hello and be in their presence, I am moved by their ever-present palpable energy. They are able to bring perspective front and center, making me feel thankful every day for the community that I am a part of. I am also inspired and deeply proud of the efforts of all colleagues, working diligently to deliver creative and meaningful content in both synchronous and asynchronous formats. In the weeks ahead, I am certain that we will continue to grow in our virtual teaching, guiding, and supporting skills.

I hold all in our community and our world in the Light.

Sending you warmth at this time,


Please find below remote learning details specific to our divisions.

Virtual BFS: Middle and Upper School

Please enjoy video greetings and read written communications from Glen Pinder and Lisa Arrastia below. All written communications from the Head of School and Division Heads can be found at our COVID-19 Communications and Resources page.

March 30, 2020

March 30, 2020

March 26, 2020


March 26, 2020


March 13, 2020


March 12, 2020

Upper School –  April 3, 2020

Middle School – April 3, 2020

Upper School – March 30, 2020

Apps and Tutorials 

Necessary Technology Equipment & COVID-19 Information

  • Chromebook, Mac, PC,  or tablet preferred; smartphone if no other equipment is available.
  • Wired or wireless preferred; cellular less preferred but permitted.
  • Please continue to refer to the Virtual BFS Hub and BFS COVID-19 web pages on the Brooklyn Friends School website.
  • Please contact US and MS Leadership if you are in need of any technology hardware or support with WiFi.

Panthers Central: Middle School Virtual BFS Hub

The 2nd Floor Commons: Upper School Virtual BFS Student Lounge

Please find below some examples of some of the Virtual BFS materials for our Middle and Upper School students:

Math teacher Matt teaches a lesson on integers to his 6th grade students:

Colleagues suggested helpful ways to set up a humanities Virtual BFS work space:


  • Teachers will take attendance in every class synchronously or by other means that can be shared with the divisional leadership team.
  • UPPER School student absence: email
  • MIDDLE School student absence: email and advisor.

  • Use only your BFS-assigned email account for communications.
  • Phones should not be out unless instructed by the teacher.
  • Photos/videos in any form should not be taken or shared including any form of social media (e.g., Snapchat, etc.).
  • Dress in clothes that are not pajamas or a robe. Wear clothing similar to what you would wear to school.
  • Do not video conference from your bed.
  • Find a space that is optimal for learning. Be mindful and locate yourself in a space separate from family members or pets that might distract you or your classmates.
  • Make every effort to sit at a table or desk. Ideally, have a wall behind you to minimize distractions of those who can see you.
  • Be present during the entire class period. There are breaks between each class. The break time should be used to get beverages, food, use the restroom, and tend to other needs. Class time should not be used for these purposes.
  • Please be mindful that if you are not prepared for class in the ways described above (e.g., appropriate dress, background, workspace, phones away), your behavior will be addressed with you and your family by the divisional leadership team.

Virtual BFS: Lower School

Lower School Remote Learning Online Resources

Families will need access to the internet or will need to use data to read and view messages from teachers and/or access a link; however, we do not intend, nor encourage long periods of screen time. We have designed our assignments to be age-appropriate and largely hands-on. Your child will need to be supported by an adult to read directions or gather simple materials (paper, pencil, deck of cards, dice). Depending on the age of your child, you may need to engage with your child in activities that require a partner or closer adult supervision. Some of your teachers have shared links and websites that your child will likely need assistance accessing. An adult should always be present whenever children work online, view youtube videos, and the like.

Please find below examples of some of the Virtual BFS materials for our Lower School students:

Explore the Lower School Math At Home Resources site.

Math in 3B with Chiara:

How to Make Origami Paper with Susan

Virtual BFS: Preschool and Family Center

The Preschool Blue Room Virtual BFS Day 1:

Blue Room students received the message below from their teachers:

Thursday Blue Room Greeting Message

Dear Blue Room Families,

Linda, Jazz and I have been busy thinking about fun ways we can bring the classroom home to all of our students! We miss being together and going over our schedule for the day, with the fun adventures that take place on a daily basis! Together we have curated some activities for the Blue Room Crew to maintain our connection while everyone is at home! Welcome to the Blue Room’s Virtual Classroom!

These recommended activities revolve around the Blue Room schedule of the day. Here is a list of fun escapades that you are invited to engage in:

Singing the Buenos Dias Song (after breakfast)

Buenos dias, buenos dias como estan? Muy bien

Buenos dias, buenos dias como estan? Muy bien

Seremos todos amigos buenos dias, buenos dias como estan, muy bien!

(Audio) Buenos Dias/ Good Morning Song

Pretend Play Time ( Pizza Party ) Extension- Making Pizzas for lunch (pita bread/pizza dough), cheese, sauce) (favorite toppings)

Stories ( Windblown and Lee Paints A Picture- A Book About Colors). In the classroom, we have read a lot about art as a form of self-expression!

Songs: Movement and Action Songs (Shake My Sillies Out, Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes, Row, Row, Row Your Boat)

‘Afternoon Song: Buenas tardes, buenas tardes como estan? Muy bien!

Buenas tardes, buenas tardes como estan? Muy bien!

Seremos todos amigos buenas tardes, buenas tardes como estan, muy bien!

(Audio) Buenas Tardes/ Good Afternoon Song

Blue Room Shares At Home- The children can sit with their family members, including caregivers to talk about something special that they like playing with or something they have made. Stuffed Animals and other favorite toys can be active listeners to the presentations!

It is such a joy to share the above activities with you! Please let us know when you try them! Tomorrow we will send another email featuring a few more ventures! Sending virtual hugs to each of our wonderful families!!!!


The Blue Room Crew

The Family Center recently shared this tried and true playdough recipe:

The children make playdough almost every week with their teachers. Besides being a lot of fun to make and play with, there is also learning happening in very age appropriate ways. Playdough is created from a number of ingredients that look alike—flour, salt, cream of tartar—and children will notice that things that look alike may feel and taste different. They can also see what happens when two or three colors are combined and how heat can change ingredients (science). They follow (“read”) a recipe, measure and count (math)…
Of course, the end product is an adventure all of its own. Playdough can be shaped with hands, rolled with a rolling pin, and cut into shapes with safe plastic knives, pizza cutters, or cookie cutters.
Playdough is easy to manipulate and young children enjoy mushing, rolling, poking, squishing and shaping playdough.

RECIPE (Makes a batch large enough for several children. For smaller amounts, simply halve the quantities.)
Measure and put in a saucepan: 4 cups flour 4 cups water 2 cups salt 8 tablespoons oil 8 teaspoons cream of tartar Food coloring
Step One: Go over the recipe with your child, explaining the different steps. This introduces the concept of “reading” a recipe, and following a sequence.
Step Two: Measure and pour into the bowl 4 cups of flour.
Step Three: Measure and add 4 cups of water. Explore what happens as the water pours in. Some questions that can be asked are, “Do the water and flour automatically mix together?” and “Do they look the same in the bowl?”
Step Four: Measure and add 2 cups of salt. The same questions can be asked as with step Three.
Step Five: Measure and add 8 tablespoons of oil.
Step Six: Measure and add 8 teaspoons of cream of tartar. Consider how some of the ingredients may be mixing on their own, and how some haven’t. The question can be asked, “Does it look like playdough yet?”
Step Seven: Add food coloring (one or many colors can be used). Begin mixing the ingredients until consistent texture is achieved. Your child will now see what is changing, and how. Does it change all at once, or gradually? How do the colors mix together to form a different and new color?
Step Eight: Heat on stove at medium flame stirring constantly until it thickens and begins to come together and then falls away from the sides.
Remove from the heat and let cool to room temperature. Be sure to let your child carefully view the mixture as it cooks and becomes “playdough.” Playdough should be stored in an airtight container or a ziplock bag. It can also be left to air dry and harden, but cracking may occur.

Virtual BFS: Support From Our Counselors and Psychologists

Counselor/Psychologist Meeting Request  

Knowing the importance of social/emotional and mental health well-being for all, as we begin virtual BFS in our remote learning model, we want to communicate how our counselors and psychologists will be available to our community.  During this unprecedented time,  as we all transition to a new temporary normal, please know that it is completely normal for you and your children to be responding with a myriad of feelings and reactions. We have offered many resources for coping on the BFS COVID-19 and Virtual BFS remote learning hubs.  For your reference, many of those articles, resources and tips can be found here.

To reach out to your divisional Psychologist/Counselor:

While Brooklyn Friends is operating in remote learning mode, students as well as parents/guardians can request to speak with the counselor/psychologist assigned to their respective division by submitting a meeting request via the Counselor Meeting Request Google Form. Meetings with the counselor/psychologist will be held via Zoom, which offers both a phone and video conference option. When a meeting request is submitted, the counselor will follow-up via email to send a Zoom meeting invitation to the student or parent requesting the meeting. Students will  be able to meet with the counselor/psychologist outside of academic class time.

Important note about availability and urgent concerns: Our counseling department will be available and responsive to student and parent needs during the school day (8am-4pm). We can work with you to plan ahead to schedule virtual meetings at other times if that is what works best for your family; however, we will generally be responding to emails only during school hours.  If you have immediate concern about your child’s, your own, and/or another person’s safety, please call 911.  Also, NYC Well, Vibrant, and the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1 (800) 273-8255 offer 24 hour a day, 7 day a week immediate emotional support. 

NY has also set up a Mental Health hotline offering free and confidential emotional support: 1-844-863-9314.

Framework for Student and School Counselor/School Psychologist virtual check-ins:With confidentiality being a staple of the counseling relationship, due to the limitations of confidentiality via a virtual platform, student counseling meetings will  be offered as supportive short-term solutions-focused check-ins.  If it seems that a  student needs mental health support beyond the scope of what a counselor/psychologist can offer via the virtual platform, the counselor will make a referral to an external provider/agency if there is not already one in place. Should a student share a safety concern when checking-in with the counselor/psychologist, the concern will be communicated to the parent/guardian right away. If  the parent/guardian is not reachable or the safety concern is assessed to be more immediate and urgent, the counselor/psychologist may need to call 911 or another agency to secure the student’s safety. If your family is staying at an address different from the address you have listed on file with the school, or has an updated preferred parental phone contact, please reach out to your respective division to update that information.

Additional Resources:

In addition to the support that our counseling staff is providing, please note these services from other organizations in the New York City Area:

Child Mind Institute is offering a plethora of virtual services, including twice daily FB live chats featuring expert clinicians, remote evaluations and telemedicine, flat-fee phone consultations for challenging behavior, daily parent tips on, comprehensive COVID-19 resources for parents. Please visit the Child Mind Institute site for additional information.

Hallways will be holding weekly online parent gatherings on topics ranging from coping with challenges of having to having difficult conversations with kids. Parents can sign-up to join via this link.

Park Slope Parents also continues to be a virtual hub of free support, advice, connection, webinars and recommendations for parents and everyone in Brooklyn and beyond.

As we all navigate the days ahead together and at home with our families, please know that we are a resource to our entire BFS community.

In continued partnership and health,

Jane Davidson, Psy.D. Preschool Developmental Specialist

Kamauru Johnson, Ph.D. Upper School Psychologist

Rachel Maldonado, Psy.D Lower School Psychologist

Yelena Remus, MS, Middle School Counselor


Service Learning and Civic Engagement

Informed and responsible service learning and civic engagement take on added significance during a crisis. Natania Kremer, BFS Director of Service Learning and Civic Engagement has started a document to gather resources for the BFS community. This is a work in progress. If you have any comments, questions or suggestions, please reach out to Natania,


Afterschool has gone Virtual! Afterschool will continue as a part of Virtual BFS for registered students following the schedule below. Registered students will receive class links. If you have questions, please contact Afterschool at

Magic Forest K-2
Beg. Chess K-3
Electronic Sound Lab 3-4
Int. Chess 2-4
Music Lessons

K-4 Grade Playgroup
5-6 Study Hall
Beginning Karate
Intermediate Karate
Music Lessons

Friends Of Color K-4
Drama Zone- Lion King K-1
Food Justice K-1
Drama Zone- Annie 1-3
Music Lessons

Mad Science- K-2
Robo Zoo- 1-2
Animation Adventure- 2-4
World Percussion- K-2
Music Lessons

TV Production K-2
Beg. Fencing K-2
3D Video Game Coding- 2-4
TV Production K-2
Int. Fencing 1-3
Music Lessons