January Newsletter

December 30th, 2020 No Comments

Dear Families,

Happy New Year to all of our families and staff! We hope you and your family had wonderful holidays together.  We have a lot in store for your children and for the whole family in 2021.  As a reminder, classes will resume on Monday, January 4th.

I am so thankful and excited to let you know, that as a community, we raised $615.00 for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society through our Pajama Days in December.  Thank you to all who participated!!

Announcing … ONLINE REGISTRATION FOR FALL 2021 IS NOW OPEN!  We are offering in-house priority registration to our current students so you can save a spot for your child before we open the registration up to the public.  You may complete  the registration form and pay the registration fee on our website to save your child’s spot for the next school year.

Here is the link to register using our secure online form:  https://www.pepperminttree.com/registration/

Here is our registration schedule:

  • In-House Priority Registration for School Year 2021-22 for current families only:  Now through – January 19, 2021.  As of January 20, 2021, Fall 2021 registration will be open to the public.   Online registration is open now, and we are sending home a paper registration form during the  week of January 4, 2021.
  • In-House Priority Registration for Summer Camp 2021 for current families only:  January 18, 2021 – January 31, 2021.  As of February 1, 2021, Summer Camp registration will be open to the public.  We are usually 100% sold out for camp (with a long waiting list), so please register during the in-house priority registration period to ensure you get a spot and the schedule you need!   At this time, we do not know what restrictions will be in place for the Summer – so we do not know how many visitors we will have, but last Summer, we did have the Swimming Pools open and we had a great Summer with lots of on-site special activities and themes.  If your child has not attended our summer camp in the past, you can learn more about it on our website (again – the specifics of the program for 2021 will be determined by the Covid restrictions in place at the time of camp):    https://www.pepperminttree.com/our-summer-program/

(NOTE: In non-Covid times, there is an optional field trip every week and also a visitor every week.  Lots of choices and options.   We will be building the 2021 Camp calendar once we have a better idea of the Covid rules we will be following.  You don’t have to wait for the camp activity calendar to be completed to save your child’s spot in camp, since we allow children to sign up for any trip or activity, even if it is not their regularly scheduled day.  Trip & Activity sign ups do not occur until late Spring.)

We will reserve a spot for all currently enrolled children in the next school year and in camp, as long as each child is registered during the “In-House Priority Registration Period” for each program.  Completed registration entails completing the one-page registration form on paper or online, and paying the registration fee.   Once registration is open to the public, space is saved on a first come, first serve basis.

If there are any questions, ideas or concerns you’d like to discuss, please feel free to call or email me.

All the best in 2021!

Valerie Frost-Lewis, MS Ed.


Hands on (screen-free) learning with Robotics and Coding are coming to Peppermint Tree in 2021!

Thanks to our Fall Fundraiser, and some additional funds that were donated, we have purchased some amazing materials for the children in all classrooms to explore the concepts of coding and robotics.   So much of the world is computerized now, so an early introduction to the concept of coding can be very important to young children.  We are so very excited that we have purchased six KIBO robots (two per classroom), teaching materials and professional development for the staff for the Pre-Ks and Kindergarten, and we have purchased two “Codapillar Twists” for the Preschool classroom.   THANK YOU to all families who participated in our fundraiser to help make this available for our students!

Here are links so you can take a look at these awesome materials:


Codapillar Twist:

Please pop in (online) to our next Parent Group Meeting: Thursday, January 14th at 8:00 p.m. via Zoom    All parents/guardians are welcome.  

All staff and parents are invited to attend our next Parent group meeting. At these meetings we have open discussions and work together to plan ways to make Peppermint Tree as nurturing and welcoming an environment as possible.  These meetings are a great way to get to know other parents and have a say in what we offer to families at Peppermint Tree. Our Parent Group was responsible for planning our upcoming Parent Workshops, and selecting the items to purchase with our Fundraising funds.  We will send the Zoom link via email when the date gets closer.

Monday, January 18th is a Child Care Day- No Classes, as Toms River Schools are Closed

Just a reminder that we do not hold our regular classes when Toms River Schools are closed, however we do provide child care for those who selected the Peppermint Tree Calendar in Mrs. Hamilton’s class and Miss Liz’s class.  (Mrs. Sullivan and Mrs. Diver’s class do not meet on Child Care Days.).  Those children who follow the Toms River Schools calendar with us are not expected to attend on these days.  However, if you need care, and your child is in Miss Liz’s Preschool class or Mrs. Hamilton’s Pre-K class, you may arrange with the office to add 1/18 to your child’s schedule on a space available basis.  Those children who follow our full Peppermint Tree Calendar will be on our list to attend on 1/18, if they normally attend on Mondays, so no need to arrange in advance for those families.

A Parent Workshop is being offered on Wednesday, January 27th, 8:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m., via Zoom, entitled: “Structuring Downtime, Especially During Covid Restrictions”.   (Workshop is Free of charge to our families)

Board Certified Behavior Analyst for Toms River Schools and Peppermint Tree parent Colleen O’Donnell will present a workshop to guide us on how to create a structure to free time with our children, especially during Covid restrictions.   Please mark your calendar now, and we will send the Zoom link out when the date gets closer.

Mark your Calendars for another Upcoming Parent Workshop in February:

  • Tuesday, February 16th @ 8:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m. via Zoom “Promoting Early Literacy” – workshop provided by Carol Sullivan, Peppermint Tree Kindergarten teacher, NJ Department of Education certified preschool and elementary school teacher, and Valerie Frost-Lewis, Masters Degree in Early Childhood Education and Peppermint Tree Director.  (Workshop is free of charge to our families)

2020 Tax Statements

Please note that we will send out your 2020 tax statement (that many of you need for your tax returns) during January. Please set it aside for when you work on your 2020 tax returns.

Annual Flu Shots REMINDER (If not yet completed) Please send in updated immunization record.  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.  www.OCHD.org  Please note, the Ocean County Health Department audits our student records for immunizations.

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 up to three snow day at the end of the year, if we have them.

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!

Parent Reminders:

  • Label Everything. If an item is not labeled, we may label it for you. This includes lunch bags, jackets, sweaters, mittens, hats!
  • Send in two clean, labeled cloth (or disposable) masks each day for your child.
  • 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 (until we come to you) 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.
  • 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.

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