*Friday, December 21 st - Monday, January 4 th —Christmas Break
(School resumes on Monday, January 7 th )
*Tuesday, January 18 th –Parent Conferences
(No school for children on this day.)
*Monday, January 21st—Martin Luther King Jr. birthday
Little Pebbles
December 2018/ January 2019

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

Skate Station Christmas Party on Sunday, Dec. 9 th  from 4:00-8:00pm    FREE ADMISSION! 
There is something for everyone: Rock Climbing, Skating, Miniature Golf, Go-Carts, and Games! Santa will be there, too!
Advent Festival
On Wednesday, November 28th
from 5:30-7:15,
join us for a special evening of dinner, Christmas crafts, caroling, Chrismons, and cookies!  Reserve  your dinner tickets by November 26th for the family friendly dinner of brown-sugar baked ham, macaroni and cheese, sautéed green beans, cinnamon apples, garden salad, dinner rolls, and sugar cookies (0-4-Free; Children: $3; Adults: $5; Family Cap: $16). No reservations are needed for the rest of the evening.
Wednesday, December 19th or Thursday, December 20th
    It doesn’t get much better than this…pajamas at school! So come comfy and cozy in your PJ's on this favorite day of the school year!
Tuesday Night, December 4 th 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 can bring 2 dozen cookies for the reception. 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. 

   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!

Join us for the Live Nativity on Wednesday, Dec. 12th 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.

Join us for the Children’s Christmas Eve Service
on Monday, 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. 
Parent's Night Out!
Join us for our next Parent's Night Out (PNO) on December 14 from 5:30-8:30pm. PNO is our themed, monthly Friday evening activity for kids age 1 (and walking) through 5th grade.  12 per child with a 30 family cap. Cost includes dinner and activities. For questions contact  Virginia Lewis . Please register and pay online by Wednesday, December 12. REGISTER HERE!
Wednesday, December 12th 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.
Monday & Tuesday, December 10 th & 11 th
     “He’s making a list, checking it twice…” Each child will be given an opportunity to attend Santa’s Workshop to make a surprise Christmas gift with homemade wrapping paper for their parents. A special thanks to our little elves on the Preschool Team for planning this activity for our children.
Children’s Miracle Network Service Project
     A special thank you to our parents who dug deep into their pockets to help our school raise over $800 for CMN. But that’s not all. We were also able to donate many coloring books, markers, glue sticks, puzzles, games, crayons, and more! The children were excited to help other children (Hero to Hero) as we emphasized generosity and gratefulness. Once again, we are reminded that real heroes are ordinary people who do special things! Like YOU!
Salvation Army Bell Ringer—Generosity
Wednesday, December 12 th 9:30-10:30am
     We are excited to welcome the Salvation Army to our school. At Christmas time especially, most children will be able to identify with the red buckets and bell ringers outside of Publix grocery stores. The Salvation Army is ready to jump into action on short notice when natural disasters strike without much warning. They gather donations, resources, and volunteers so they are ready to help as soon as the federal, state, or local government declares the area safe to enter. They provide food, water, and shelter to victims, lend a hand with cleanup, and put people in touch with their loved ones. We felt this organization exemplified “generosity” and are looking forward to sharing this hero attribute with our students. Each child will be given a quarter to place in Salvation Army’s red bucket.
   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!
January 2019
(For returning students, siblings, and alumnae)
January 30 th , 31 st , February 1 st  
    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 , 2019) 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 24 th and 25 th but will not be accepted until January 30 th when enrollment begins . Do not hesitate to reserve a place for your child in the finest preschool in Gainesville! An email will be sent home before Christmas Break with detailed information involving enrollment.
(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.  

Friday, January 18th 8:30 am-1:00 pm
   On Friday, January 18th, 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 10th-14th, 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 102 to watch your child during your appointment time between 8:30 am-1:00 pm.

Wednesday, January 16, 4-5:30 –  CHEER Cherubs   begins for children ages 3 by Sept. 1, 2018 AND Pre-K children. Participate in a lively Bible story, make cool crafts, enjoy a delicious snack, sing and play on the playground. *We will pick up from Stepping Stones. Runs every Wednesday through May 8 th . Register  here

Tuesday-Friday January 8th-11th  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, 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. 
January 28th-February 1st
     If you hear roaring in the classroom, it’s just Prehistoric 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?)
Beau, the therapy dog—helpfulness
Wednesday, January 23 rd 9:30am
      The Alliance of Therapy Dogs (ATD) are comprised of an international registry of certified dog teams. Their objective is to form a network of caring individuals, and their special dogs, who are willing to share smiles and joy with people, young and old alike. Their teams provide therapy in many settings like airports, schools, hospitals, and nursing homes. We felt like Beau, the therapy dog, personified our character trait and has been very helpful to many people.
Friday, 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!  
     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. 

   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! 
KUDOS —Grateful hearts to all those who help our school.
* Justin Connell— Appreciate your help on the first floor! Thank you!
*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! Thanks for keeping the staff stuffed! Ha!
*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!
*Jeremiah Neal— Laminator Man! Our hero!
*Mr. T —You’re cheerful smile brightens up our hallway! Welcome to the first floor.
*Ben Haines —Hay! The children loved their tractor hay ride! What fun!
*Susan Kovi —Monthly emergency drills! You’re the BEST!
*Chrissy Howard —You are so thoughtful to always think of the staff! We’ll truly miss your sweet family! Go with God!
*Rennie Mace —The diapers will come in so handy! Glad you thought of us! Yeah!
*Emily Kaufman —The color mats are so much fun! We love how you think of us!
*Toddler parents —What an amazing breakfast for the staff! We felt loved!
* Matt Andrews- We love you latte! You gave us the perfect "pick me up!"

    This section of our newsletter is for friendly reminders and miscellaneous school information.
*PARKING! Please remember there is no parking under the overhang in front of the education building or anywhere you see a yellow curb. This is for emergency purposes only. We appreciate your cooperation.
Stepping Stones Preschool at TUMC
4000 NW 53rd Avenue, Gainesville, FL 32563