September Newsletter

September 10th, 2020 No Comments

Dear Families,

Welcome to The Peppermint Tree Child Development Center, 2020 – 2021 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 the Preschool and Pre-K 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.

The Kindergarten Classroom uses McGraw Hill Reading Wonders and Everyday Math to support their learning.  Mrs. Sullivan tells me she will be sending homework home soon, so you will see some of the work the children are doing each week.

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 overall school news at The Peppermint Tree. I post the monthly newsletter on our website (  for your reference anytime.

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.

While we are unable to have our usual community visitors and family events at this time, we will be sure that the children continue to gain a variety of experiences and knowledge through their classroom and playground adventures.

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 via Zoom: Tuesday, September 22nd at 7:00 p.m (all parents/guardians and staff welcome) 

Peppermint Tree offers a once a month “Parent Group” meeting, which is an opportunity to meet other parents and guardians, and to discuss the Peppermint Tree program with the Director (Miss Val).

At this time, we can not plan group activities, which is one of our favorite things to do – to help us build community.  I am hoping we can get together by Zoom to talk about how we can work together at this very different time, to assure we are able to foster community and that there is open communication.  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.  So our Parent Group is more than an event planning group, through our activities we are building five key Protective Factors.

  • Parental resilience
  • Social connections
  • Knowledge of parenting and child development
  • Concrete support in times of need
  • Social and emotional competence of children

Our first meeting will be held on Tuesday, September 22nd at 7:00 p.m. via Zoom  for one hour.  We will send out the Zoom link via email in advance.  

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.

Tap water is always made available.  You may send in bottled water if you prefer. (Please label each disposable bottle, otherwise it can not be served.)

At lunch time, we will be serving Organic 1% milk (or parent provided milk alternative).  For the first week of school, Peppermint Tree is providing milk to the students, as a courtesy.  Beginning September 14th, 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.)  We have created an online sign up form for this.  You will receive the link to this sign up via email.    Thanks for your support.

We follow the USDA guidelines, offering 1% milk:

  • ¾ cup for 3 – 5 year olds

Join Our “Remind” Texting service for the 2020-21 School Year

Sometimes it is just easiest to get a quick announcement or parent communication out by text.  Each school year, you need to sign up for that year’s texting list.  The instructions to sign up were in your enrollment package, and are being emailed for your convenience.

We are proud to have been recognized and selected by the State of NJ to implement The Pyramid Model, to help develop social-emotional competence in children.

We are one of 13 preschools selected from around the state to be provided professional coaches from Montclair State University to train and coach our teaching staff in developing social emotional capabilities in children.  We are so thrilled to have this honor, and to be provided this support, especially during this time -which is difficult for all of us!  As a foundation to the approach, we will be teaching the children some basic overall expectations, from which all the rules and expectations for behavior come.  The overall expectations are:

  • Be Safe
  • Be Kind
  • Be Respectful


  • Be a Problem Solver

All the rules we teach can be tied back to one of the top three expectations.  (For example, “We use walking feet in the classroom to be safe“, or “We listen while others are talking, to “be respectful“.)  We encourage and empower children to figure out how to follow these expectations by encouraging them to “Be a Problem Solver”.    (For example, ” How do you think we should use the slide safely?”)

We will be sharing more about what we are working on with this approach as the year progresses.

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.  All items sent in for school time celebrations must be store bought, individually wrapped, and please include the ingredients label.  A great suggestion would be individually wrapped fruit cups, or mini bites muffins.  Please do not send in cupcakes, munchkins, etc.  These are both too sweet, and not individually wrapped, so we can not serve them.  Thanks for helping to support our nutrition policy.  

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 call the office if you need to confirm your calendar.   

Please mark your calendar and plan ahead:  Toms River Schools are closed Monday, September 28th and October 12th.  There are no Classes for those following the Toms River Schools calendar.  Children following the Peppermint Tree calendar attend for child care.  

We will NOT be holding classes on these days, 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.

If you follow the Toms River Schools calendar we will not be expecting your child. But, if you need child care, and your child is in either Miss Liz’s Preschool class or Mrs. Hamilton’s Pre-K class,  call the office and we can arrange to care for your child. You will be billed for the care on a per day basis.  (Following Covid regulations, children will stay with their regular groups on these days.  Due to the Covid regulations of keeping groups together, holiday care is not available for those in Mrs. Sullivan’s Kindergarten class and Mrs. Diver’s Pre-K class, because not enough students in these classes require care on these days.)

BoxTops for Education

Please download the “BoxTops For Education” App onto your phone, and scan your grocery receipts to earn for Peppermint Tree.   We use any funds raised to purchase supplies and learning materials for the children.    (No more clipping the pink squares off of cereal boxes!)  We could really use the extra funds at this time!  Thank you!


  • Please return all required paperwork, including medical forms, etc.
  • LABEL ALL BELONGINGS with your child’s name – especially please label your child’s masks and also their 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.
  • Please remember to wear a mask at drop off and pick up to protect the staff you come in contact with.
  • Speed limit is 5 mph in the driveway. Please observe for the safety of all.
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