school front for web
HomeBlogHome is... a school
October 25, 2017
Home is... a school
by Sarah Van Dyke

My husband and I are Lansdowne “transplants”—I grew up in Western New York, and he in Western Pennsylvania. Because of this and the distance of our families, we always felt that Philly was a pit stop until we found “home”. We explored different regions for years without resolve as our careers and family grew. Suddenly our children were of school age!

 Having heard wonderful experiences from neighbors, we enrolled our daughters in the Pre-K and Kindergarten programs at Lansdowne Friends School. Still, our hearts weren’t committed to the area. We yearned for a home near family, with a big yard and a little less traffic, of course!

That’s why in August, when a family member became quite ill AND I received a job offer (in the hospital waiting room!) in suburban Pittsburgh, we jumped at the opportunity to move. It seemed like “a sign”.  Still, the girls started school at LFS while Pittsburgh plans were built and we moved over winter break, hoping the transition to a new school would feel less abrupt. I recall a long-time LFS parent and dear friend telling us, “I almost wish you wouldn’t start the girls at LFS at all. It’s going to be so hard for you to leave once you experience it.”

And he was right.

The transition was more than difficult and it wasn’t for the hardship of just making new friends—It was seeing the spunk fade from our younger daughter, having just seen her showered with love and encouragement to be as colorful and creative as she could be at LFS. It was seeing our older daughter walk in and out of her new school with her head down, telling us she was trying to be brave, instead of seeing her lightheartedly skip out of school as she had at LFS. And it was my husband and I realizing how important and irreplaceable the Quaker education was for our family.

After 4 long weeks, we moved back.

My husband and I learned a lesson about “home”. For our family of blended faith, it’s a place that encourages diversity and teaches us to appreciate our differences. It’s a place that values simplicity, peace, and love for our Mother Earth. It’s a community that embraces our family and children just as we are, and offers an invaluable academic and social education. To quote my (now) 1st grader, being at Lansdowne Friends School “feels like home”, and we agree!


A side note: 

To the LFS community and teachers—we are so thankful for your immeasurable support and kindness over the last year.  Despite the transitions, our daughters continued to exude security, joy, and academic progress, which we attribute to you. With love and gratitude, Sarah & Josh