A Message From the Principal:
Happy New Year!
Winter has definitely arrived with a serious drop in temperature and change of weather. We welcome the much needed rain and the children are enjoying talking about the changes in the weather. It has made their daily weather predictions very interesting. Please make sure all sweaters and jackets are clearly labeled as even though it is cold outside, it can get quite toasty indoors with all of the activities and movement.
We hope that all of you had a wonderful holiday season. December was full of cheer and adventure as some of our students took the stage for the first time at the Pre-K Holiday Show. We definitely have a lot of great talent and personalities amongst us!
Thank you for participating in our “Giving Without Walls” Community Projects. The children were able to experience the joy of giving to those in need during our Warm and Fuzzy Drive for the homeless, Cards for the Troops and books for children in the hospital. Together we collected and delivered over 100 books for the children who spent the holidays in the Pediatric Ward of Dameron Hospital. The children, families and staff of Dameron Hospital were very moved by this generous act of kindness. Our school was even featured on the local news and in the Stockton Record.
The children are excited to be back to school and their normal schedules. Links to Learning is in full swing in all of our classrooms as the children continue to learn, grow and develop with every new experience, project and activity that they participate in. I encourage you to take a moment upon dropping off or picking up your children to ask them about the projects that you see in the classroom as well as documentation of experiences that are displayed throughout the classrooms and hallways. They are always very proud and excited to talk about what they have participated in at school, but there is so much going on, that sometimes a prompt is helpful to begin the conversation.
Your feedback is extremely important to us. This month is Parent Survey Month. Please check your emails for our Annual Parent Survey. Our goal this year is a 90% response rate…if we reach this goal the students will enjoy an ice cream party in your honor. (You will all be invited too!) The parent surveys are a great way to recognize the amazing teachers and staff who are so important to your children for the great things they do each and every day. The survey will be emailed to all addresses on your account. If you receive the survey more than once, please take it, as the percentage is based on the amount of email addresses they were sent to.
Please read below for more information regarding upcoming events and themed dress up days. Our Literacy Fair will be held on Saturday, February 27th from 10am-1pm. There will be a special raffle for the first 20 families that attend as well as all families that bring pre-school age friends. The fair is free for all that attend and will be full of entertainment, and literacy themed activities.
Thank you for being a very important part of the Merryhill Family!
Tammy Wells- Principal
Special Events/Theme Days* (Every Tuesday is Merryhill Spirit Day -Wear a Merryhill Shirt**)
- Friday, January 1st- Happy New Year! School Closed
- Thursday, January 7th – Old Rock Day – Dress as a Rock Star
- Thursday, January 14th – Crazy Hat Day
- Friday, January 15th- Little Caesars Fundraiser Begins
- Monday, January 18th – School Closed for Martin Luther King Jr. Day
- Saturday, January 23rd – Open House for Future Enrolled Families
(Refer a friend and receive a free week after 90 days of enrollment)
- Thursday, January 28th – Snow STEM Challenge
- Thursday, January 28th – FROZEN Day – Dress as your favorite Frozen or Disney Character
- Friday, January 29th, Little Caesars Orders Due
- February 3rd, 4th & 5th – Lifetouch School Photos (1 volunteer per day needed- free photo pack)
- Friday, February 5th – Parent’s Night Out – 6-9:30 pm
- Tuesday, February 9th – Little Caesars Pizzas Arrive
- Sunday, February 14th – Happy Valentine’s Day!
- Monday, February 15th – School Closed for President’s Day
- February 23rd & 24th – Grad for a Day Field Trip to Merryhill Elementary School
(for graduating Pre-K Students)
- Saturday, February 27th – BIG EVENT! Literacy Fair 10am-1pm
- Saturday, February 27th – Book Fair Begins! (Volunteers needed for 3 shifts Mon-Fri)
- Monday, February 29th- Leap Day! Wear Green!
- Monday, March 7th – School Closed for Staff Professional Development Day
- Wednesday, March 23rd – Spring Egg Hunt (Parent Volunteers needed to hide eggs)
- April 10th – 16th – Week of the Young Child
- Friday, April 22nd – Earth Day – Big Event (Parent Volunteers Needed)
- Friday, May 6th – Mother’s Day Social – Big Event
- May 23rd-27th – Teacher Appreciation Week
- Monday, May 30th – School Closed – Memorial Day
- Friday, June 10th – Father’s Day Social – Big Event
- Thursday, June 16th – Last Day of the School Year Celebration Day
- Thursday, June 16th – Pre-K Graduation (6:30 PM)
- Friday, June 17th – School Closed for Staff in Service Day
- Monday, June 20th – First day of 2016-17 School Year & Summer
*Events/Visitors will be added as they are confirmed. Please check the online calendar, e-mail reminders and the front window for events.
** Merryhill Spirit Shirts are now available for purchase $10 each!
Parent’s Night Out: Thank you for your interest and Participation in our Parent’s Night Out events. Our next Parent’s Night Out will be held on Friday, February 5th from 6-9:30pm. Parent’s Night Out is an opportunity for you to enjoy a night out while the children enjoy a special night with us at school. Dinner, a movie and fun filled activities will be provided. $25 per child / $15 for each additional sibling. Spaces are available on a first come first serve basis. Advance Payment is requested. 24 hr advance cancellation notice is required.
Change of Seasons: With the change of seasons please remember to update your child’s clothing in their cubbies. If they have difficulties keeping their jackets on while outside, we recommend bringing a pullover sweatshirt or sweater. Also please label all of their items so lost items can be returned to their owners. All children are required to have a fitted sheet for their nap mats as well as a blanket. The sheets and blankets must be taken home each Friday and laundered and then returned on Monday.
We Are a Nut-Free School: Please do not send your child to school with items that contain nuts. We will have to return the items to you at the end of the day. Thank you for being considerate of our children who have nut allergies and working with us to keep our school safe for everyone.
Enrollment Schedules: Our 5 full day schedule gives your child access to every event at our school, and we encourage our students to attend school on a 5 day a week program to gain the highest benefit from our Links to Learning curriculum. Switching days, so your child may participate in special activities or events may not always be accommodated. If you have previously signed up for a part time schedule and would like to increase your schedule, please notify the office as soon as possible. Spaces are limited!
Annual Activity Fee: Have you paid your child’s Annual Activity Fee yet? The Activity Fees help to cover all of the extra special visitors and events that take place at the school throughout the school year. The fee is $65 per child. Many of you paid this fee with your 2015-16 Registration Fee. If you would like to check to see if you have already paid the Activity Fee, please ask a member of the Administrative Team and we will be happy to help you. If you have automatic tuition payments set up and would like for us to charge your account to process automatically we will be happy to do so.
Vacation Policy: I would like to take a moment to remind you of our Vacation Time Request Policy. We offer 1 week of Vacation Credit per school year. This year’s inclusive school year dates are June 29, 2015 thru June 20, 2016. This week is inclusive/reflective of your child’s schedule. We require 30 days advance notice to process the Vacation Request, which includes auditing the records to make sure a previous Vacation Credit has not been issued this school year. Please submit all vacation requests in writing or via e-mail a minimum of 30 days prior to your requested Vacation Time. Your child must be enrolled a minimum of 6 months to qualify for the Vacation Credit.
Flu Season and our Illness Policy: As you know the flu season seems to be never ending this year. I wanted to remind you of Merryhill’s illness policies as well as some tips and guidance for sick children (and adults of any age). Please help us by notifying us when your child or a member of your household has been diagnosed or has symptoms of an illness so we can be aware and pro-active on our end. – Thank you for working with us to keep everyone in our Merryhill Community safe and healthy! We are being vigilant about our cleaning and disinfection practices in every classroom and all common areas.
Merryhill’s Sick Policy:
The purpose of our sick policy as it applies to children is as follows:
- To reduce the spread of illness from the sick child to other children.
- To reduce the possibility of the recuperating child returning to school before the child is fully recovered from the illness, which in turn could develop into a more serious illness.
- To prevent the constant spread of colds, flu and diarrhea so common among small children.
Parents are to assist us in maintaining a safe and healthy environment for all of our children by helping to reduce the spread of illness from a sick child. If you, as a parent, have any questions regarding this policy, feel free to discuss them with any member of our Administrative Team.
A sick child must stay home where he/she is most relaxed and comfortable. Children may be sent home if they have any specific symptoms as listed below. In addition, a child must be free of all of these specified symptoms for at least 24 hours before he/she can be returned to school. These symptoms are as follows:
- A fever of 100 degrees or more within the previous 24-hour period.
- Vomiting within the previous 24-hour period.
- Diarrhea within the previous 24-hour period, including recurring episodes of diarrhea at school.
- A heavy nasal discharge indicative of infection.
- A constant cough or sore throat.
- Fussy, cranky behavior, and generally not himself/herself.
- A skin rash, excluding diaper rash.
- Head lice.
- Symptoms of a communicable disease.
Following an illness, a child may return to school once he/she has either been seen by a doctor or it has been determined that the illness is not contagious. #A doctor’s clearance may be requested.)
With the exception of our infant population, children at Merryhill Preschool will be involved in physical fitness activities, both indoors and outdoors, as an important part of the curriculum. If a parent believes that his/her child is not well enough to participate, s/he will probably be more comfortable at home in more familiar surroundings. The school is not equipped to accommodate the needs of a sick child. Additionally, to prevent widespread flu in the school, we recommend that your child stay home from school if experiencing flu or cold symptoms.
Late Payment Fees: Effective immediately a late payment fee of $25 will be automatically applied to all open invoices at 12 noon every Tuesday. Tuition is due every Friday for the following week. To avoid late fees it is possible to set up an automatic payment program at no extra charge to you. Please speak with Ms. Tammy, or Ms. Pauline and they will be happy to assist you in registering for this convenient program.
Safety First: We would like to remind you of a few security measures that we need your assistance with in regards to school safety.
- It is extremely important that you sign your child in and out of the daily sign in book each day. This is a legal document verifying that your child was checked in and out of school for the day.
- Please make sure all doors close securely behind you when you leave a room or the building.
- Please refrain from exiting through the Emergency Exit Door to the parking lot. (We do not want the children to think it is okay to use this door.)
- Please do not give out your door code to anyone other than the primary people on your pick up list.
- Please do not allow “piggy backing” at the front door. If there is someone behind or in front of you that does not know the code, please ring the door bell, which is located above the key pad.
- If you know in advance that someone other than your normal approved designated pick up person will be picking up, please complete a Pick Up Notification Form at the front desk or call/e-mail us to notify us of the change.
- If you change your cell phone number, please update this on your child’s Emergency Card.
Parking Lot Safety: Please remember not to leave any valuables in your car (including your children) when entering our building or any other location. With the slump in the economy, thieves are getting BOLD! They are taking part in a practice to which the Stockton Police refer as “Smash and Grab”. What they do is sit in clear view of parking lots of schools, post offices, etc where people are busy and running in and out of a location. They target mostly women’s cars who leave without a purse in hand who have left their purses, lap tops, etc. sitting in plain view in their locked vehicles! The “locked vehicle” does not stop them as they come prepared with a special glass breaking tool! They break your window, grab what they want and speed away!
Please do not leave anything of value or that resembles a purse or bag in plain view in your car, for any amount of time! This includes your children!
If you see any suspicious activity please report it to the office immediately or call the Stockton police Department at 209-937-8377. The more observant the better including Make and Model of the car and a License Plate # if possible. We ask that you pass on this information to anyone who is authorized to pick up your children.
Please see below for additional reminders about parking lot safety on our campus.
Rules for Vehicles While On School Grounds: Because the safety of our children is of paramount concern to us, we require all parents to adhere to the following rules of the road while on campus:
- There is a 5 miles per hour speed limit at all times while on school property.
- Park in designated parking spaces only.
- While on school grounds, pedestrians always have the right of way.
- Vehicle ignitions MUST be turned off, and the keys removed, while parked on school grounds.
- Children may NOT be left unattended in a vehicle at any time or for any reason.
- Violations of these rules may result in a warning. If a violation is serious, or if violations continue, school personnel are authorized to take a tag number for a report to the local police.
Thank you for partnering with us to keep all of our children safe.
Tuition Policy Reminders:
- Full day rates include lunch and two snacks per day.
- Tuition is due no later than the Friday prior to the weekly preferred schedule circled above. A late payment fee of $25 is assessed at noon on Monday following the due date. Returned checks will be assessed a $2.00 per day late charge from the date tuition was due until the tuition is paid in full by cashier’s check only. In addition, a $25.00 service charge will be assessed.
- All third party clients are responsible for any tuition not paid by the agency and will be held accountable for any tuition owing
- Merryhill Schools are open from 6:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. weekdays except holidays. A fee of $5.00 per each five minutes will be assessed for children picked up after 6:00 p.m.
- Merryhill offers a one-week vacation credit to qualified students during each 12-month school year and can be used with a 30 day prior written notification. To qualify, the student must be enrolled six months prior to vacation.
- Parents who wish to withdraw their child must give written notice 30 days prior to leaving. We reserve the right to suspend or dismiss a child (in our sole discretion) for unsatisfactory or inappropriate behavior, if we do not have adequate expertise or resources for the child’s educational, medical, or other needs, for violations of our policies, or if for any reason we determine it to be in the best interest of the school.
Important Dates & Times
- First Day of School: June 22, 2015
- Last Day of School: June 16, 2016
- School Day Opening Time: 9:00 a.m.
- Building Opening Time: 6:00 a.m.
- Building Closing Time: 6:00 p.m.*
* A late pickup fee of $1 per minute per child will be charged after 6pm
On Time Tuition Payments / Late Payment Fees / Payment Options: I would like to thank all of you for paying your Tuition each week in advance. As you are all aware, Tuition payments are due at the beginning of each week. Any payments received after your child’s first day of attendance each week will be charged an additional late fee of $25.To save you time and the headache of having to remember your checkbook every Monday, it is now possible to set up an automatic payment program at no extra charge to you. Please speak with Ms. Tammy, Ms. Pauline or Ms. Kasey and they will assist you in registering for this convenient program.
- If an unfamiliar person is picking up your child, please, have him or her check in at the front desk. The teacher will ask for ID. Thank you for understanding we want to keep your children safe.
- If you will not be picking up your child please fill out a pick up form at the front desk.
- Check your child’s cubby for extra clothes a few times a week. Also, dirty clothing items will be bagged and placed in the cubby for you to take home.
- Any personal blankets or bibs need to be marked. We understand many parents do not want their baby items to be shared with classmates. In addition, we want to return any personal items to your baby if the items go through our laundry. Let’s work together to accomplish this goal.
Clothing & Toys: Remember to update your child’s clothing in their cubbies as the seasons change. Also please label all of their items so lost items can be returned to their owners. All children are required to have a fitted sheet for their nap mats as well as a blanket. The sheets and blankets must be taken home each Friday and laundered and then returned on Monday. Share toys are for Fridays only. Please have your child keep their personal toys home on all other days. We are not responsible for lost or damaged personal items.
PM Snacks: We do serve a snack to the children around 5pm each evening. To clear up some confusion, we do this as a courtesy for those parents who work late and may not be able to feed the children right away. We do not provide the snack foods for this optional snack and we do request that you pack something healthy. Remember that soda and candy are not suggested snack foods.
Merryhill Elementary School
What About Kindergarten?
If you are interested in staying within the Merryhill Family and would like to continue your child’s great education, please visit our sister Elementary/Middle School in the Brookside area, just three exits south of 8 Mile Rd. You can reach the Brookside Campus at 209-477-9005 or Corinne.Deprater@nlcinc.com.
From Our Home Office
The Value of Visual Art Activities for Your Preschooler
Visual art experiences help children develop skills such as critical thinking, self-expression, problem-solving, communication and collaboration. Our teachers focus on process-based art education, in which the experience of creating art is valued over the end product.
In our classrooms, teachers integrate art into many aspects of our Links to Learning curriculum. After reading a book about polar bears, teachers might ask students to create their own polar bears using sponges, paint, markers and paper. They encourage students to talk about their art, providing a great opportunity to learn new vocabulary, particularly words related to colors, shapes,textures, and emotions.
Our students are also exposed to and inspired by famous artwork. In order to cultivate that fascination, we discuss famous artists and art works and ask students to create replicas of well-known paintings and sculptures. For example, after learning about Michelangelo’s painting on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel, teachers mimic the activity in the classroom. They tape paper underneath tables, and students practice painting a masterpiece while lying down.
Below are visual art activities you and your child can do at home, as well as recommended reading.
- Provide your child with finger paint, a large piece of paper and a smock. Let him create a masterpiece. Talk about how the paint feels and what colors and shapes he creates on the paper.
- Start a journal with your child. Have him draw a picture of something that happened during the day. Avoid giving direction. Instead of saying “Draw a picture of your teacher and classmates,” encourage him to experiment using different colored markers or crayons. If age appropriate, ask your child to write a few words to describe the picture.
- Give your child a piece of paper and a box of crayons or markers. Show him how to use the materials to make dots, lines and swirls on the paper. Let him take over and have fun. Encourage conversation about your child’s art by saying, “Tell me about what you made” or “I see you used a lot of blue in your picture. Why did you choose that color?”
- Ask your child to decorate a sign for his bedroom door using various art materials. Have him write his name on the sign.
- The Dot by Peter Reynolds
- Beautiful Oops by Barney Saltzberg
- Art by Patrick McDonnell
- Not a Box by Antoinette Portis
- Mix It Up by Herve Tullet
It is wonderful to share the joy that children naturally take in using art materials. Giving children extra opportunities to connect art to the world around them, contributes to happiness and future success in elementary school and beyond.
– Lauren Starnes, PhD – Director of Early Childhood Education