December Newsletter

December 1st, 2019 No Comments

Dear Parents,

I want to thank all those who joined us for our Multicultural Feast on November 22nd.  We had over 80 family members and staff celebrating together, and so many of you were generous in sharing a food item for the feast, and/or donating non-perishable foods for the “Your Grandmother’s Cupboard” organization.  What a fabulous community we have!

We’ve got an exciting month in December, including a Holiday Shop for the children, and Mrs. Sullivan’s class will have a “Sing-Along” for parents of students in that class.   And, during our first week we have Pajama Days to raise money for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. 

As a reminder, you can always check our event calendar on our website, by going to, and clicking the “Events” menu at the top/right.

Pajama Days for The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society (LLS): Thursday, December 5th & Friday December 6th

Children wear their pajamas to school on 12/5 & 12/6 in honor of children who are too sick to get out of their pajamas.  The Preschool and Pre-K classes will learn about helping children who are sick, through an education program provided by LLS.  We ask our families to make a donation to the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society for this event.  Donation checks can be made out to The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, and can be sent in to your child’s teacher.  We will also forward any cash donations, as well.  You can also make a donation online, on our fundraising page for LLS:

Peppermint Tree Secret Holiday Gift Shop, December 9-13 , 2019

During the week of 12/9/19, please be sure your child comes to school with their shopping list (paper form will be sent home) and a little spending money to participate in our “Peppermint Tree Secret Holiday Workshop”The shop will be open (in our school office) all week to allow the children to pick out inexpensive gifts for their immediate family and pets. We will send home the notice and shopping list in your child’s backpack next week.  (We do not allow children to buy gifts for themselves, only gifts for immediate family and pets.)

This is an opportunity for your child to participate in giving gifts this holiday season – not just receiving. They will also experience the process of shopping (counting money out and receiving change, and working within a budget).

For the holiday shop, we purchase a quantity of small, inexpensive gifts suitable for immediate family members, grandparents and dog and/or cat pets. Most items will be $1.25 each.  If you wish your child to participate, send in whatever amount you deem suitable in a sealed envelope with the completed shopping list form. On your child’s regularly scheduled day, he/she will “shop” with their class for each person listed on their form. This will be an exercise in decision making and money handling. We will also be discussing the concept of thinking about others. All gifts will come home wrapped and tagged. Wrapping paper will be made by the children.

If you have extra clean plastic grocery bags, please send some in, as we use these to send home all the wrapped gifts from the shop.

The Fun Bus Winter Session will begin on Thursday, 12/12/19 at 2:00 p.m. – Space is limited, sign up now!

As the weather shifts into Winter, we will have fewer opportunities for outside play and exercise for the children will be restricted to the classrooms when it is too cold or there is snow on the ground.  For this reason, we are offering an optional activity: a Winter Session of “The Fun Bus Fitness On Wheels”, each Thursday at 2:00 p.m. beginning on 12/12/19.  The Fun Bus parks in our parking lot; it does not move while children are inside the bus.  It is filled with gym equipment and music plays while the instructors teach new skills and the children have fun getting much needed exercise.  Use the following link to register your child:

Mrs. Sullivan’s Class Sing Along – Wednesday, December 18th at 10:00 a.m.

Mrs. Sullivan’s class will be holding a holiday sing along event for the children and parents of that class. Please mark your calendars and you should have received an invitation in your child’s backpack.  (This is for Mrs. Sullivan’s  class only.)  If your child does not regularly attend on a Wednesday, you are welcome to come in for the event on Wednesday 12/18 at 10:00 a.m.  We are asking families to bring a healthy snack to share to make the event more festive.  We will be providing the hot chocolate!

Annual Flu Shots – Please send in updated immunization record by 12/31/19.  The Health Department requires the annual Flu shot for all children in Preschool, under the age of 5.  

As per the State of New Jersey requirements, all children who attend Peppermint Tree who are under 5 years of age, must get an annual Flu shot, before December 31. Please send in proof of this vaccination for your child’s file.  As an alternative to visiting your child’s pediatrician for the Flu vaccine, you can visit the website for the Ocean County Health Department to find out when they are giving flu shots.  There is a lot of good health related information on their website as well.  Please note, the Ocean County Health Department audits our student records for immunizations.

 Mark Your Calendars: An Evening of Parent Workshops, Monday, January 13th, 6:30 p.m. – 7:30 p.m. – and send in questions for the presenters!

We will be offering a choice of two, one-hour workshops:  “Potty Training” and “Kindergarten Readiness”.  These are topics that our Fall event surveys showed were of interest.

The Potty Training workshop will be led by Colleen O’Donnell, MSW, BCBA (Board Certified Behavior Analyst, Toms River School District Behavior Analyst, and Peppermint Tree parent).
The Kindergarten Readiness workshop will be led by Carol Sullivan and Valerie Frost-Lewis, MS Ed.  Carol, one of our Pre-K teachers, is a New Jersey Certified Elementary School Teacher, and has taught Kindergarten in the public schools as well as for Peppermint Tree.  Valerie is our school director, who also holds a Master’s Degree in Education.
In lieu of holding a December Parent Group meeting, as it is always so difficult to find time to meet during the holiday month, we are asking parents to send in questions for the workshop presenters, to assure our workshops meet our families’ needs.  (We are emailing the addresses to send the questions to – rather than posting them online here.)

Save the Date:  Our Next Parent Group Meeting will be Wednesday, January 29th, 6:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m.  Please join us–all parents and guardians are welcome!  This is your opportunity to meet with the Director and other parents, and help us plan activities for our families.  (Child Care will be provided, free of charge.)

(We are taking a break from meeting in December, as I know everyone is so busy for the holidays.  As always, feel free to contact me if there are any questions, in the meantime.)

Calendar Notes for the Holiday Break

We will be CLOSED on Monday, 12/23/18,  Tuesday, 12/24/19, Wednesday 12/25/19, Tuesday, 12/31/19, & Wednesday, 1/1/20. for the holidays.  We will be open for child care only during the rest of the winter break: Thursday, December 26th, Friday, December 27th, Monday December 30th, Thursday, 1/2/20, & Friday 1/3/20.   If your child follows our Peppermint Tree calendar, the child care days are included in your monthly tuition. If your child follows the Toms River Schools calendar, and you need child care during the break week, please let the office know so we may save a space for your child, and adjust your bill for the additional day(s).

As a reminder, your tuition is annual, and divided into 10 equal monthly payments, so tuition payment amounts do not change during months where there is a break.  It also does not go up when there is a five week month.  It is all averaged out through the year.

Inclement Weather

In case of snowy or icy conditions, please look out for a text from us (if you have signed up for our “Remind” text program, or check our website announcement on the home page, or your email inbox for updates about school opening on these days. We also provide this information to WOBM radio “Storm Watch” and FIOS Stormwatch, and change our outgoing phone message. We make every effort to be open, however the safety of our staff and families is our first concern. As a guideline, if The Toms River Public Schools have a delayed opening or are closed due to inclement weather, the earliest we will open is 8:30 a.m. This will give us time to get our driveway and walkways plowed, salted and sanded and determine if we will delay further or have to close for the day. There are no refunds or credits for inclement weather closings.  We will be able to make up for one snow day at the end of the year, if we have one.

For safety on the playground: Please no scarves or hats with long scarves attached. 

We do not allow scarves at all on the playground, as they are hazardous on playground equipment. (Can get caught in the swings, or wrapped around a child’s neck.) Thanks for your understanding.  Note: We also prefer mittens over gloves, as it takes more time to get all the children into gloves!  Thank you!

We welcome your suggestions, questions and ideas

We have placed a sign, “Tuition, Suggestions, Forms”  on the small box hanging in Mrs. Sullivan’s room where you are welcome to place suggestions, questions or ideas.   We check it daily, so if you want to relay any information to us, and would prefer an opportunity to communicate with us anonymously, please feel free to place your comments in the box. The box can be found by the entrance to the kitchen in Mrs. Sullivan’s room.  The sign is “hot pink”.

Parent Reminders:

  • Label Everything. If an item is not labeled, we may label it for you. This includes lunchboxes, jackets, sweaters, mittens, hats!
  • Please – Mittens ONLY/ no gloves, no scarves.
  • No strings on jackets or hoodies.
  • Dress your child in layers. We go outside every day that it is 32 degrees or higher, and not precipitating.
  • All children must go outside with their group. If a child is too sick to play outside, then they should stay home from school to rest.
  • Please drive SLOWLY in our driveway.  Thanks!
  • Please do not exit your car while using the drop off/pick up line at 9:00 a.m., 11:30 a.m., or 2:00 p.m.  Allow us to go to you! This will keep our driveway safe, and the line moving.
  • Please do not park your car at the end of our driveway, as it is too narrow to accommodate parked cars and two way traffic.  Park further back in our driveway, or in our marked parking spaces,  or on the street, avoiding the yellow curb area.
  • Please do not leave your car idling in our driveway.  This is a safety concern.
  • Please remember to download the “BoxTops for Education” App on your phone, sign up to raise funds for Peppermint Tree, and scan in your grocery receipts.  This is a helpful and important fundraiser for us.  Thank you to Kristen Bernstein, Peppermint Tree Parent and Preschool Classroom Assistant, who coordinates this for us.
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