September Newsletter

September 2nd, 2015 No Comments

Dear Families,

Welcome to The Peppermint Tree Child Development Center, 2015 – 2016 school year. We are so very happy to have each and every one of you as part of our group of families this year.  We have a lot of new and exciting things happening this year…so it’s a great time to be a part of The Peppermint Tree. 

We like to make sure you know what is happening at school, so each month you will receive this newsletter from me to keep you updated on events planned here at The Peppermint Tree. I also post the monthly newsletter on our website (  for your reference anytime. You can access the daily events calendar at our website at the following link:

Peppermint Tree Events Calendar:

We will be emailing you each month with a link to the newsletter rather than giving you a paper newsletter. We would like to save paper where we can.

As always, if you have any questions or comments, please feel free to give us a call at the office @ (732) 929-2500.

Valerie Frost-Lewis , MS Ed.

(“Miss Val”)


Back to School Night – Wednesday, September 30th at 6:30 p.m. – 7:30 p.m.

You and your children are invited to our “Back to School Night” which will be held on Wednesday, September 30th at 6:30 p.m.  Each classroom will be set up with tabletop activities and learning centers available for the children to participate in, so you can see how they are enjoying their Peppermint Tree experience.  It is also an opportunity to meet your child’s new friends, other parents and the teacher.  Please do not expect the teacher to provide you with details about your child’s progress, however.  That can be done in a private conference or on the telephone.

Lunch Time Milk Program (optional)

According to the USDA nutrition guidelines, children should drink water between meals, milk with meals, and limit juice intake.  To help support our families in providing healthy drinks for our children, we make water available to all children, all day, both indoors and out.  We do not serve juice.

If you send juice from home, we ask that you only send 100% juice and limit to one juice sent in per day.  Tap water is always made available.  You may send in bottled water if you prefer.

At lunch time, we will be offering an optional milk program. 

We will follow the USDA guidelines, offering 1% milk:

  • ½ cup for 1 -2 year olds
  • ¾ cup to 3 – 5 year olds

As a service to you, and to give you time to sign up, we will be offering lunch time milk to children during the month of September at no charge.  Beginning in October, milk will be served at lunch only to those children who sign up for the optional milk program.

Healthy Lunches help our students grow and learn

At Peppermint Tree, we believe it is our job to do everything we can to support healthy growth and development for the children in our care.  This includes teaching children about healthy habits, like exercising, eating healthy foods and drinking water and milk.  We are also hoping to support our parents in the effort to get the children to eat healthfully.  Here is what we are doing so far:

  • If your child eats lunch at Peppermint Tree, their lunch box will have a tag on it, with their name, and also including the USDA guidelines for children’s meals.  We are hoping this will help you as a guideline, as you put together your child’s lunch each day.
  • Yesterday, at our “Parent-Child Drop In”, we hosted the dietician from ShopRite, who gave us lots of healthy lunchbox suggestions.  We are making the suggestion sheet available to all parents.
  • On Wednesday, October 14th at 6:30 p.m. we will be holding a free  parent workshop on nutrition.  More information will follow, but please save the date.  Child Care will be provided.
  • We will be offering an option for an “Atlanta Bread” lunch that meets the USDA guidelines for your child.  It will include a half sandwich on whole grain bread with your choice of protein, a fruit choice and a vegetable.  The cost will be $4.50.  More information to follow.  We will not be offering weekly pizza lunch as we have in the past, as it does not meet the nutrition guidelines we now follow.
  • Water to drink  is always available for your child – both indoors and outside on the playground.

Strengthening Families Initiative – First Meeting: Thursday, September 24th at 6:00 p.m (all parents/guardians and staff welcome)

The Peppermint Tree is pleased to be participating in the national Strengthening Families Initiative. Strengthening Families programs support child development by building strong partnerships with the parents and the families of the children in their program. Your Strengthening Families program is not only there for your child—it is there for you. Click HERE to go to the Strengthening Families website.

Activities in previous years included a parent workshop on Nutrition, and one on CPR, and also a Thanksgiving Feast, an ice cream social, a Kids Night Club and two Pajama Nights that allowed the parents a night out.

We are looking for parent and staff volunteers to work as part of a committee to help us to implement this program to benefit our families. We meet once per month to plan activities.   Our first meeting will be held on Thursday, September 24th at 6:00 p.m. for one hour in The Peppermint Tree office.  Please email Miss Val at , call the office, or send a note in to your child’s teacher to RSVP to attend this meeting, which is open to all parents/guardians and staff.  We will provide child care free of charge during the meeting.

FREE Dental Screening for your child at Peppermint Tree – must complete permission form being sent home (paper form)

On Wednesday October 7th and Thursday October 8th, at 9:30 a.m., the Peppermint Tree will be visited by the “Mobile Dentist”.  We are sending home a paper form that must be completed and returned to your child’s teacher by no later than 9/16/15 for your child to participate.  If your child does not usually attend on a Wednesday or Thursday, you may bring your child in for the screening.

Mr. Scott the Music Man – visits each month for energetic music & movement

On his visit days, Mr. Scott arrives at 9:30, and visits each classroom, providing an age appropriate music and movement experience.  This month he will be here on Tuesday, September 15th.

Enrichment Options Provided by Peppermint Tree Partners (additional fees apply)

The Peppermint Tree is pleased to offer four enrichment options that are provided by outside companies that visit Peppermint Tree. Your child does not have to be in our care during the class time to participate. You can bring your child in just for the enrichment class if you’d like. If your child is in care at the time of class, we will coordinate their attendance at the enrichment classes. We hope to make your life easier by offering these optional classes during the child care day, so once you pick up your child, you can have relaxing quality time together. No need to shuttle them around to various activities.

Here is the Fall schedule:

Tuesdays: The Fun Bus – “Mobile Gym” @ 9:30 a.m.  This is a favorite of the children, they learn gymnastics skills and have a blast.  Free Demo 9/8 @ 9:30 a.m.   All children 2.5 years and older who are in care that morning will receive the free demo class.

Wednesdays: Happy Piano – @ 2:15 p.m. – Piano keyboard lessons for 3 – 5 year olds.  Each child works with own keyboard, professional teacher. Free trial class: 9/16 @ 2:15 – Parent MUST complete interest form for child to take trial class.

Thursdays:  Soccer Shots –  @ 2:00 p.m.  Teaching soccer skills, teamwork, sharing and respect in a fun and age appropriate manner.  Free Demo Class 9/10 @ 2:00 p.m.  All children 2.5 years and older who are in care that morning will receive the free demo class.

Fridays: Wee Can Dance – Pre-Ballet Dance class @ 2:00 p.m., Free Demo 9/11.  The amazing “Miss Heather” is once again teaching this class, and the children will be invited to participate in a Dance Recital at the end of the school year! All children 2.5 years and older who are in care that morning will receive the free demo class.

If you would like to sign your child up for either of these programs, watch for the forms and payment instructions to be sent home soon.  Each will be offering a Free Demo for your child to participate to see if they would like to join the class.

Our partnership with the non-profit organization, Helping Others Grow

As you may know, we have been selected by the non-profit organization, Helping Others Grow to receive support for our program, because they believe in the work we do with young children.

Some of the programs they are supporting at The Peppermint Tree:

  • The Giving Gardens – Our garden boxes out side the swimming pool fence have all been donated by Helping Others Grow.  The  gardens enhance our curriculum opportunities, by giving children hands on opportunities to plant and tend and reap the benefits (we will be planting a variety of vegetables this fall).  We are hoping the children will be able to bring home fresh foods they participated in planting and nurturing.  In addition, we invite our families (parents and siblings) to help us tend the gardens: over the weekends, afternoons or early evening – we will need help with weekend watering, weeding, etc.  We see this as a community project that we all can work on together, and a way to build community and teamwork, and teach those values to the children.
  • Mindfulness Curriculum for Preschool and Pre-K Classes being implemented at Peppermint Tree by The Children’s Home Society, through the support of Helping Others Grow – at no cost to our families  together and to promote healthy development!  This will begin in October – so stay tuned for permission slips and more information for parents.  In the meantime, you can learn more about mindfulness for children at

Benefits of Mindfulness:

  • Better focus and concentration
  • Increased sense of calm
  • Decreased stress & anxiety
  • Enhanced health
  • Improved impulse control
  • Increased self-awareness
  • Skillful responses to difficult emotions
  • Increased empathy and understanding of others
  • Development of natural conflict resolution skills 

We are thrilled to bring all of this to you your children…with the support of Helping Others Grow.

Fire and Lock Down Drills:

Each month we will have scheduled one fire drill and one lock down drill on different days of the week and times of day. We have documented procedures for our staff to follow for all emergencies, and although we hope we will never need to use them, it is important for the staff and children to practice and feel comfortable with these procedures.

Your Child’s School Calendar:

Please take note of which calendar you are signed up for: “Peppermint Tree” or “Toms River Schools”. The “Toms River Schools” calendar observes all of the holidays and days off that the Toms River school system observes. The “Peppermint Tree” calendar has fewer days off and includes 17 more days of care (than the Toms River Schools calendar) during the school year. Please visit or call the office if you need to confirm your calendar.  Please note: We are closed on Monday September 7th, Labor Day.  This applies to both calendars.  

NOTE: Monday, September 14th and Wednesday, September 23rd are days off for those on the Toms River calendar, as Toms River Schools are closed for the Jewish holidays.

KidStuff Coupon Books – Please Support our Fall Fundraiser

Back by popular demand, we are selling the valuable, family-friendly KidStuff Coupon Books.   The cost of the book is only $25.00, and our school earns 50% profit, which will be spent directly on materials and enrichments for the children.  If you have attended in the past, you know that we always report the amount we make on fundraisers and what specifically is bought with the funds.   We are counting on our families to support this effort!   We are sending a book home with your child, for your review.  You must return the book if you are not purchasing it.  Sale ends, Wednesday, September 30th. 

Use just a few coupons and save more than the cost of the coupon book:  The book includes coupons from stores like Macy’s, Friendly’s, Party Fair, Michael’s, Five Below, Modell’s, Sears, Bed, Bath & Beyond, Disney Store and many many more stores, restaurants and family activity spots.  If your family sells five books, you get a book free!

School Portraits – Picture Day is coming: M0nday, September 21 & Thursday, September 24 at 9:15 a.m.

Please dress your child comfortably, so they will enjoy the day and the picture taking experience!  There is no obligation to purchase any pictures.  The photographer will take individual pictures, a class photo and sibling groupings (we will also do cousin groupings, upon request!).  If your child does not attend on a Monday or a Thursday morning, you may bring him/her in to get their picture taken on one of the mornings.   Then in a month or so we will send home a package of photos for you to review.  You may either purchase all or some of the pictures, or return them.

BoxTops for Education

Please collect the pink “BoxTops” from many products you may purchase at the supermarket, clip them and send them in to your child’s teacher.  Our  school gets money to spend on supplies for the children through collecting these!  Thank you to Joanne Engo, one of our awesome parents, who is coordinating our “BoxTops for Education” program!


  • Please return all paperwork, including medical forms, etc.
  • LABEL ALL BELONGINGS with your child’s name – especially please label your child’s backpack in very large lettering for ease of identification.  Many children have the same bags!
  • Every child under the age of five MUST have a flu shot between September 1st and December 31 each school year.  This is a New Jersey State law for children in preschool.  The only exceptions are those with a written medical exemption by the doctor or a religious exemption signed by both parents.  Please send in your child’s immunization update when this is completed.
  • We have several busses coming and going at different times of the day. Please do not park at the yellow curb in front of the school on Partridge Street. In addition, please do not park at the head of the driveway. If you are exiting your vehicle at drop off or pick up, park in the back parking lot or on the street, avoiding the yellow curb.
  • To avoid a delay in the pickup line at 11:25 or 1:55 dismissal times, please pull your car forward, to the tree, to fasten seat belts.  Also, please turn your car off while waiting for the line to start moving.
  • Speed limit is 5 mph in the driveway. Please observe for the safety of all.

Special Note: We take photos all year long and some video, to document the children’s progress and to remember all the fun and enriching activities we have been experiencing. While we will never identify a child by name, we often put pictures of our activities in our photo albums, on the classroom walls, and sometimes post photos on our website or the school’s FaceBook page. We may also wish to share photos with our partners: Helping Others Grow and The Children’s Home Society.  In the future we may want to place new photos in a brochure for the school, press release or advertisement. Please let us know if we do not have your permission to take photographs or videos that include your child.

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