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December News

Message from the Principal:

It’s hard to believe that it is already time for tree trimming and Christmas caroling. December is here and the sights and sounds of the holiday season is now all around us. Take time this holiday season to discover the magic of the holidays and always “believe”!

Thanks to all who donated items for the Kids Can Food Drive. This project was a great success! This month you can drop off new, unwrapped toys in our “Chips for Kids” toy drive. Your generosity will be recognized by those who are in need. And it’s a great way to teach your child the gift of giving. All toys must be brought in no later than December 11th.

Join us on Wednesday, December 9th for “Spaghetti with Santa” from 5:30-7:30 pm at the Spaghetti Factory in Elk Grove. Santa will make his appearance and your child will have the opportunity to write their letter to Santa. Should be great holiday fun and kids will eat for free!

Make sure you turn in your Santa’s Workshop form in to the office, so your child will have an opportunity to do their holiday shopping. Check for the details in the office.

On Friday, December 12th we will all climb aboard the “Polar Express”. It will be an event you won’t want to miss!

We will round out the holiday season with our holiday programs on Friday, December 19th at 3:30 pm. So, mark your calendars for this very special holiday event.

Happy Holidays!

– Lisa Norris, Principal

Important Dates:

  • 12/5 – Chips for Kids Delivery at Cal Expo
  • 12/8-12/11 – Santa’s Workshop
  • 12/9  – Spaghetti with Santa from 5:30-7:30pm at the Spaghetti Factory
  • 12/12 – All Aboard The Polar Express. Come to school dressed in your favorite holiday P.J’s and get ready for a ride on the Polar Express!  The children will enjoy the reading of The Polar Express and watch The Polar Express Movie!  Each child will also receive the First Gift of Christmas, along with their ticket for the Polar Express!
  • 12/16 – Hanukkah Celebrations.
  • 12/19 – Holiday Programs at 3:30pm
  • 12/24 – School Closes at 12:30pm
  • 12/25 – Christmas Holiday -SCHOOL CLOSED
  • 12/26 – Kwanzaa Celebrations
  • 12/30 – New Year’s Celebrations
  • 12/31 – Merryhill Closes at 12:30pm
  • 1/1 – New Year’s Holiday -SCHOOL CLOSED


  • Holiday Toy Safety: Here’s what is recommended for playing it safe when selecting toys. Infants under age 1 – Activity quilts, stuffed animals without button noses & eyes, bath toys, soft dolls, cloth books, squeaky toys. Ages 1 to 3 – Books, blocks, fit-together toys, balls, push & pull toys, pounding toys, and shape toys. Ages 3 to 5 – Approved non-toxic art supplies, books, videos, musical instruments, outdoor toys such as a baseball tee, slides or swings. This holiday season let’s all play it safe when selecting toys for small children. And check on-line for toy recalls!
  • Priority Registration: It will soon be time to begin planning for your child’s continued preschool education for our next school year. Our school is currently full and we anticipate full enrollment for next year. It will be important to register early to reserve your child’s spot.  For those students that will be continuing with us (Infants – Intermediates), we will begin Priority Registration in February and continue into March 2015. We are looking forward to another great year!
  • Weekly Communication: Please make sure that you are checking your email everyday! We often send out reminders about special events and each Monday you will receive a “This Week At Merryhill” email. This will give you a quick glance at the week!
  • Links to Learning: For information regarding your child’s class and the activities that are going on in our school, please check out the class newsletters that are posted on your child’s classroom door.
  • Parent Ambassador Program: If there is one thing that parents love to do, it’s talk about their children’s successes. When friends ask you about your child’s experience at Merryhill, what type of success stories do you share? Do you mention the personal and educational discoveries that your child is making thanks to our advanced curriculum? Do you talk about the new levels of self and social confidence your child has gained thanks to our encouraging atmosphere? Whatever the glowing reports you deliver about how your child is growing with his or her education, we couldn’t be more appreciative. In fact, we’d like to show you just how thankful we are for your endorsements. Now when you tell other parents about our school, you can become a Merryhill School Parent Ambassador! For every new child you refer who enrolls at our school you can receive up to a full free week of tuition (based on attendance of new student) after 3 months of attendance.
  • Links to Learning End of the Month Folder: Remember to pick up your Links to Learning folders on the last school day of each month.  You will find the Links to Learning skills from the month, a snapshot at what is ahead, and samples of your child’s work included in each folder.
  • Merryhill Elementary School: For information regarding Merryhill Elementary School, please call 916-689-7236

News from the Education Department:

Branching Out with STEM

“Too often we give children answers to remember instead of problems to solve.” – Roger Lewin

There is a wide recognition that American students need broader and deeper science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) education; however, many schools do not introduce this interdisciplinary approach until middle school. At Nobel Learning Communities, we believe that starting STEM education in preschool is important to help students build problem-solving, reasoning and critical thinking skills, as well as self-confidence and self-direction.

This fall, all of our principals and teachers have participated in professional development sessions to create innovative lesson plans featuring STEM activities. Both students and teachers are having fun exploring real-world problems together.

Below are a few ways that we integrate STEM in our classrooms and some ideas to try at home.

Science: In our classrooms, students participate in various science projects to practice close observation and experimentation. They make volcanos using baking soda, food dye and vinegar, observe the result of soda bottle geysers, and create rain clouds using shaving cream and food dye. Perform a science experiment at home by making a lava lamp using a plastic bottle, water, oil, and food dye. Ask your child to make predictions on what would happen to the ingredients in the bottle. Will the oil and water mix?

Technology: We integrate technology into our academic curriculum by providing opportunities for students to explore changes in technology over time, use technology to express themselves creatively, and learn terminology relevant in this digital age. For instance, they explore sun dials, analog clocks and digital clocks and discuss how each item is used to tell time. At home, have your child look for different forms of technology such as computers, tablets, telephones and cell phones. Ask him to share the differences and similarities he sees.

Engineering: Our students work collaboratively to design and create inventions, while building communication, creativity and cooperation skills. They build boats and cars using cardboard boxes, make containers to grow plants, and build cities out of blocks. Continue the learning at home by asking your child to build a fort using pillows, assemble a tower from magazines, or create a necklace using macaroni and string.

Mathematics: We give children hands-on experience with math concepts such as pattern, size, shape and quantity. For example, student sort and count different types of cereal and graph their favorites. Take a nature walk with your child and have him collect leaves or small rocks in a basket. When you get home, ask him to count the objects and describe the colors, shapes and textures.

In summary, we provide numerous fun and challenging STEM projects to encourage collaboration, problem solving, decision making, creativity and innovation. Through these activities, our students build the foundation they need for a lifetime of learning.

– Lauren Starnes, PhD – Director of Early Childhood Education


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