September Newsletter

September 7th, 2019 No Comments

Dear Families,

Welcome to The Peppermint Tree Child Development Center, 2019 – 2020 school year!  We are so very happy to have each and every one of you in our group of families this year.  We are looking forward to an enriching and enjoyable year with your family.  And…we are off to a fabulous start!

During the first weeks of school, your children will be getting to know their teachers, learning the daily routines, meeting new friends and finding out about all the things they can do in the classroom and on the playground.  Starting school is exciting!  Our teachers in all classrooms use the Creative Curriculum, a proven, research-based curriculum, to guide intentional teaching activities and experiences for each age group.  This is the same curriculum that the Toms River School system has selected for Kindergarten preparation.  The teachers will be letting you know about all their exciting activities as they unfold in the classroom.

We are proud that our program has been awarded a 4-star rating in the state’s Grow NJ Kids High Quality Preschool Rating System.  We know your children will benefit from the engaging activities we have in store for them!

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 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”)


Please join us for our first Parent Group Meeting: Tuesday, September 17th at 6:00 p.m (all parents/guardians and staff welcome) – Free child care will be provided.  Please RSVP to let us know you will attend.

Peppermint Tree offers a once a month “Parent Group” meeting, which is an opportunity to meet other parents, discuss the Peppermint Tree program with the Director (Miss Val), and work together to plan activities that will benefit the Peppermint Tree families.  Our purpose is to foster a community of families working together to create active and enriching experiences for our children and families to enjoy.  We hope you will join us!

In addition, our school is a part of 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 our Parent Group has planned in previous years included parent workshops on Parenting Strategies to Improve Child Behavior, Healthy Eating, Stages of Development,and others,  a Multicultural Thanksgiving Feast, an Ice Cream Social, a Family Luau Party, and “Pajama Nights” that allowed the parents a night out.

We welcome you to come and meet other families, and work together to plan activities.   Our first meeting will be held on Tuesday, September 17th at 6:00 p.m. for one hour at The Peppermint Tree.  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.

Back to School Night – Wednesday, September 25th at 6:30 p.m. -Please attend with your child!  No need to RSVP – just come and enjoy!

You and your children are invited to our “Back to School Night” which will be held on Wednesday, September 25th 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.

The Fun Bus will also be here that evening for a Free Demo for your child to try it out.  The Fun Bus will be offered as an optional activity during the winter months on Thursdays at 2:00 p.m.

School Portraits – Picture Day is coming: Wednesday, September 25 & Thursday, September 26 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 Wednesday 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.

Lunch Time Milk

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.

Tap water is always made available.  You may send in bottled water if you prefer.

At lunch time, we will be serving Organic 1% milk (or parent provided milk alternative).  For the first week of school, Peppermint Tree is provided milk to the students, as a courtesy.  Beginning September 9th, we are asking one family per classroom to send in a gallon of Organic 1% milk each week.  (In a classroom with ten children staying for lunch, we will be asking the families for a gallon of milk once every 10 weeks.)  The teachers each have a sign up form in their classroom.  Thanks for your support.

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

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

Healthy eating habits 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 a quick snapshot of our healthy eating guidelines:

  • If your child eats lunch at Peppermint Tree, please include a food from each food group.  (We sent home a guide for healthy lunches and snacks with your school packet.) We will be serving the children all food groups at once so they see daily what a “healthy balanced plate of food” looks like.  We will be discussing the food groups with the children, so we will be looking for all the food groups to be in the lunchbox.  Thank you so much for partnering with us to promote healthy eating.
  • If your child eats a snack at Peppermint Tree (8:30 a.m., 2:00 p.m. or 5:00 p.m.)  (or school-aged children at 4:00 p.m.), please pack TWO FOOD Groups.  (For example, cheese and multigrain crackers, apples and peanut butter, celery and peanut butter, etc.)
  • Water to drink  is always available for your child – both indoors and outside on the playground.
  • At lunch time we offer 1% milk (or parent provided milk alternative).  (see above)

Celebrating Birthdays at The Peppermint Tree – Healthy Celebrations

For birthdays, if you would like to send in a treat for your child’s class, we are asking that you send in something healthy, such as fruit, cheese and crackers, etc.  Please note: due to our licensing requirements, we can not serve home baked goods to the class.  All items sent in for school time celebrations must be store bought and please include the ingredients label.  Please do not send in cupcakes, munchkins, etc.  If sweets are sent in for a birthday, we will not serve them, however, we can send them home with each child, so they can be enjoyed at home, at the parent’s discretion.  Thanks for helping to support our nutrition policy.  

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 Thursday, September 19th.  He visits on different days of the week throughout the year so all children get a chance to enjoy his visit.

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

The Peppermint Tree is pleased to offer three 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:

Thursdays:  Soccer Shots –  @ 2:00 p.m.  Teaching soccer skills, teamwork, sharing and respect in a fun and age appropriate manner.  Free Demo Class 9/12 @ 9:30 a.m.  All children 2.5 years and older who are in care that morning will receive the free demo class.   Register for Soccer Shots at:

Fridays: Wee Can Dance – Pre-Ballet Dance class @ 2:00 p.m., Free Demo 9/13 @ 9:30 a.m. 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.  Register for Wee Can Dance at:

Wee Can Dance also now has an online shop to make it easy to purchase dance class attire:

There is a special page just for Peppermint Tree on the boutique site!

Winter schedule:

(Soccer Shots will take a break and Wee Can Dance will continue through the Winter.  We will add The Fun Bus, for a Winter Session, in place of Soccer Shots.)

Thursdays: The Fun Bus  –  @ 2:00 p.m. Fitness Fun on Wheels!   (Fun Bus Winter session will begin on 12/12/19).  Free Demo of the Fun Bus will be held during our Back To School Night event on Wednesday, 9/25/19 at 6:30 p.m.  They will bring registration information to the Back to School night.

Our new Electronic Child Check In and Out System

Thank you to  our families and staff for making the implementation of our new child check in and out system run so smoothly!  Please be sure to stop at the tablet to check your child in and out of school each day.  If you have any difficulty with it, or need help, please see any staff member.  Thank you!

Fire and Lock Down Drills:

Each month we will have 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 18 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 mark your calendar and plan ahead:  Toms River Schools are closed Monday, October 14th.  We will provide Child Care on this day – No Classes for those following the Toms River School calendar.

We will NOT be holding classes on this day, however we will be providing child care. For those of you who are registered for our Peppermint Tree calendar, we are open and we will be expecting your child to attend. But please be advised that every teacher does not work every holiday. We also do not use every classroom. Please prepare your child for these changes. Please use the front door for entrance in the morning.  (There is no drop off and pick up line on Child care days.)

If you follow the Toms River Schools calendar or attend 9:00 – 11:30 (quarter day) we will not be expecting your child. But, if you need child care on this day please call the office and we can arrange to care for your child. You will be billed for the care on a per day basis.

Please mark your calendar for additional upcoming Family Events – more information will follow as we get closer

  • Tuesday, October 15th, 10:00 a.m – 11:00 a.m.:  Pumpkin Picking Hayride on site at Peppermint Tree, Grandparents invited (rain date: Thursday, 10/17)
  • Thursday, October 31st, 10:00 a.m. – 11:00 a.m.: Halloween Parade, Parents Invited (no rain date – if rain, we will hold classroom events for children only)

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! A BIG THANK YOU to parent and staff member Kristen Bernstein who is our BoxTops Coordinator.  We are also looking into a new online BoxTops electronic donation system, and will advise on that soon!


  • Please return all required 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 buses 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, alongside the building, to fasten seat belts.  Also, please turn your car off while waiting for the line to start moving.
  • Please do NOT get out of your car while using the drop off and pick up line at 9:00 a.m., 11:30 a.m., and 2:00 p.m.  If you need to get out, please park on the street (away from the yellow curb) or in our parking lot.
  • Speed limit is 5 mph in the driveway. Please observe for the safety of all.


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