SCHOOL CLOSURES
*Wednesday, December 20th- Monday, January 1st—Christmas Break
(School resumes on Tuesday, January 2nd)
*Monday, January 15th—Martin Luther King Jr. birthday
*Tuesday, January 16th –Parent Conferences
(No school for children on this day.)
Little Pebbles
December 2017/ January 2018
TUMC
Christmas Eve Schedule
3pm: Children's Service
4:30pm: Traditional Service- Childcare available
6:30pm: Contemporary Service
9pm: Sonlight Concert
9:30pm Blended Service
11pm: Traditional Service
PRESCHOOL CHRISTMAS MUSICAL
HAPPY BIRTHDAY JESUS!
Tuesday Night, December 5th 
6:30 pm
    It’s a night of fun and fellowship you’ll cherish forever. Please join us for our annual school Christmas program on this very special evening. Some of our older Pre-K children will be dressed in costume. We ask all other participants to be dressed in their “Sunday Best” and at school by 6:10pm. Please escort your child directly to their classroom, and then find seating for your family in the Worship Center. We will have posters in the back of the Worship Center charting approximately where each classroom will stand to help you with your seating decisions. Our program will begin PROMPTLY at 6:30 pm.
   A reception will follow our program, and that’s where we need your help. Please sign- up outside each classroom if you are able to bring 2 dozen cupcakes for the reception. We ask that all cupcakes are made with white cake mix and white icing, and no embellishment. Any parents who can stay afterwards to help clean up would be greatly appreciated as well.  
   Our youngest angels, (Ms. Tabitha’s Toddlers) will not be participating in our program. 
CHRISTMAS DVD
   Parents we are happy to announce we have a videographer hired to make copies of our Christmas Program this year. These are ordered in advance and prepaid for $10.00. If you are interested in purchasing a Christmas DVD from our children’s program please sign up and pay in the school office. Yeah!

Advent Festival
On Wednesday, November 29 from 5:30-7:15
Join us for a special evening of dinner, crafts, caroling, Chrismons, and cookies! Reserve your dinner tickets by November 27 for the family friendly dinner of brown-sugar baked ham, macaroni and cheese, sauteed green beans, cinnamon apples, garden salad, dinner rolls, and sugar cookies (0-5-Free; Children: 3; Adults: 5; Family Cap: 16). No reservations are needed for the rest of the evening. 

Join us for the Live Nativity on Wednesday, Dec. 13th from 5:30-7:30 pm.  
 Invite your friends and neighbors to gather around the big oak tree, sip hot cocoa and view the live nativity (preschool and elementary children dressed as the nativity characters). It will be an evening you will not want to miss! Parents: Sign up your child (outside rm. 108) to be his/her favorite nativity character.

No school? No problem!
Come join the fun at Trinity’s Day Camp on Dec. 20 & 21 from 9am-1pm. 3 years old (by Sept. 1, 2017) through 5th grade are eligible to participate. Cost is $20 per child/day (includes snacks and supplies). Pre-registration is required and space is limited! 


Join us for the Children’s Christmas Eve Service
on Sunday, Dec. 24th at 3:00pm.
  This special service, led by children, is for children of all ages--young and old. (Childcare will not be provided.) Bring a bell to ring. 
MS. TABITHA’S GINGERBREAD HOUSE DECORATING PARTY
Wednesday, December 6th 11:15 am-noon
   This Christmas celebration is for Ms. Tabitha’s Toddler class! We encourage those parents who can attend to meet us in the Atrium on this fun occasion to help their child with decorating their houses. Please refer to Ms. Tabitha’s “sign-up genius” to donate items to be used in decorating. We appreciate your help! Children not scheduled on this day for school are welcome to attend with their parents.
STORY TIME WITH
MRS. CLAUS
Friday, December 8th 
    Stepping Stones welcomes back Ann Scroggie for “Story Time with Mrs. Claus.” Ms. Ann will be using her 35+ years of teaching, coaching, and writing to interact with our children sharing Christmas stories. If your child does not attend school on this day, you both are welcome to join us. Please check with your child’s teacher for the time to attend. Ho-Ho-Ho!

PAJAMAS AND A CHRISTMAS MOVIE
Wednesday, December 13th  
    It doesn’t get much better than this…pajamas at school AND a Christmas movie! Children will get to view a Veggie Tales movie. This holiday movie is rated G and is a story of hope, love, and forgiveness that will warm the hearts of children. Each classroom will be participating at a designated time. Popcorn, anyone? 
CHRISTMAS PHOTO BUTTONS
   Califf Photography is creating Christmas Buttons with each child’s picture on them. They will be located outside each classroom and the price is $10.00 for two. This is an excellent gift for grandparents during the holidays. A large envelope will be placed by the buttons to collect money. Another fun idea for the holiday’s right at your fingertips. SMILE!
SANTA FE ZOO CELEBRATION    
“Let us not love with words or tongue but with action and in truth. 1John 3:18
   Thank you so much for encouraging your children to think beyond their own immediate family and to have compassion for all God’s creatures, especially endangered animals. Jungle Jingle was so much fun and your donations were very generous. The children, (with your help) exceeded our goal of $500 and raised over $800. We also were able to bring BOXES full of donated items for the animals. A special thank you to the Santa Fe Zoo and their educational coordinator, Jade Salamone, for making us feel so welcome. Merry Christmas and thanks for your support of our service project…and our four legged friends at the zoo!
January 2018
STEPPING STONES ENROLLMENT 2017-2018
(For returning students, siblings, and alumnae)
January 24 th , 25 th , 26 th
   We are looking forward to providing continued quality education for your children. We would like to offer your family FIRST PRIORITY! If you have younger siblings (age 15 months by June 1 st , 2018) and would like an extra enrollment packet please contact the school office. Please note we have changed the age of our youngest children from 12 months to 15 months for enrollment into Stepping Stones. Enrollment packets will be sent home on Thursday or Friday January 18 th and 19 th , but will not be accepted until January 24 th when enrollment begins. Do not hesitate to reserve a place for your child in the finest preschool in Gainesville! A email will be send home before Christmas Break with detailed information involving enrollment.

CHILDREN’S DEVELOPMENTAL REPORTS
(For those children who are 3 and 4 years old)
    The teaching teams in the 3 and 4 year old classes collaborated to create “Children’s Developmental Reports” for these two age groups. This is teacher observation on the social, emotional, cognitive, and physical development of our students. Hopefully, this will help you better gauge your child’s varied developmental skills. Preschool children progress at different rates and should not be compared to their peers. The children in our Toddler and 2 year old classrooms are not evaluated.  

PARENT/TEACHER CONFERENCES
Tuesday, January 16th 8:30 am-1:00 pm
   On Tuesday, January 17th, we are offering parent/teacher conferences for our 3 and 4 year old children. We are not scheduling conferences with the families of our Toddler and 2 year old children, unless requested. During the week of December 11th-15th, your child’s teacher will be posting a schedule outside the classroom for you to sign up for a time slot for your conference. The Stepping Stones Early Morning staff will be available in room 124 to watch your child during your appointment time between 8:30 am-1:00 pm

Parent's Night Out!
Join us for Parent's Night Out on Friday, January 5th from 5:30-8:30.
Parent's Night Out will be a fabulous night of dinner and special activities for all ages, 12 months and walking through 5th grade! Cost is $12 per child with a $30 cap per family. Register online by Wednesday, Jan. 3rd

TRANSPORTATION WEEK
Monday-Friday January 8th-12th  9:30 am
    Let’s go, go, go! We will be bringing in as many types of transportation as possible this week for the children to see. We have trains, limousines, school buses, boats, Monster trucks, motorcycles and more! We are most excited about our hot air balloon provided by Jeremy Thomas from RE/MAX. Let’s pray for perfect weather conditions for a launch! What fun! If your child does not normally attend on this day, feel free to bring your child and join in the fun. 

DINOSAUR WEEK
January 29th-February 2nd 
     If you hear roaring in the classroom, it’s just Dinosaur Week at Stepping Stones. As we study dinosaurs this week, the Museum of Natural History docents are bringing activity centers for our four year old children about reptiles and amphibians. We will also have our “Dino Dig” for all the children, where our little paleontologists will gather at the sandboxes with paintbrushes and dig for bones. Who knows what they may find? The children will also be keeping a close watch on our “Dino Hatchery”, where they will observe the slow process of dinosaur eggs hatching. (It’s really just a play-dough egg with a small plastic dinosaur inside, but isn’t it fun to pretend?)
FROZEN!
Thursday, January 25th 
    Let’s enjoy some winter fun on this exciting morning! Children will be engaged in science experiments involving water, crafts, snowball fights, and ice skating! (Florida style!) Please make sure your child wears SOCKS on this day for easy sliding. Our “instant snow,” purchased for this day, will be a blast! Our wintry fun continues into the afternoon with Enrichment children making their own ice cream and painting with ice cubes! We plan to “Let It Go” and have some fun!  
Parent's Night Out!
Join us for Parent's Night Out on Friday, January 5th from 5:30-8:30.
Parent's Night Out will be a fabulous night of dinner and special activities for all ages, 12 months and walking through 5th grade! Cost is $12 per child with a $30 cap per family. Register online by Wednesday, Jan. 3rd
TEACHER ASSESSMENTS AND OBSERVATION
     The teaching staff is assessed twice yearly on their ability to instruct, as well as class management, interpersonal relations, and professional responsibilities. This critique is completed by the director and is based on the daily performance of the teacher. 

AFTERNOON ENRICHMENT
   Our December Afternoon Enrichment activities are filled to the brim with holiday literature using flannel board, music, art, and learning centers keep these elves busy all afternoon. Children will be creating ornaments for their classroom tree. The magic of the holiday season begins with our Afternoon Enrichment! 

JUNGLE FACTS:
    A wolf can eat about 20 pounds of food at one meal. You’d have to eat 80 hamburgers for dinner to match a wolf’s appetite. 

KUDOSGrateful hearts to all those who help our school.
*Vince Perry—Thanks for the mulch, Prince Vince!
*Justin Connell—Your zoo donations were appreciated. Thank you!
*Laura Macgregor—Our very own “Joe Photo” at the zoo! Smile!
*Joel Ainsworth—Keep us in tune! You are the music to our ears!
*Preschool Team—The staff sure appreciates all our holiday surprises! Whoo Hoo!
*Franny Long—To our favorite fruitcake! Enrichment loved the fruit!
*Sharron Hartman—Thanks for shopping for our school! Fun stuff!
*Thank you parents who brought candy for the TUMC Fall Festival! Yum!
*All of our wonderful parents who brought in goodies and shared our Thanksgiving Feasts! You help make our holidays so special for the children. Bless you!

BITS AND PIECES
    This section of our newsletter is for friendly reminders and miscellaneous school information.
*PARKING! Please remember there is no parking under the porte co chere in front of the education building or anywhere you see a yellow curb. This is for emergency purposes only. We appreciate your cooperation.
*Our character traits for the months of December and January are giving and acceptance. Please take a minute to talk with your child about the importance of giving (God loves a cheerful giver. 2 Corinthians 9:7) and acceptance of others (Love your neighbor as yourself. Romans 13:9).
Stepping Stones Preschool at TUMC
4000 NW 53rd Avenue, Gainesville, FL 32563