Smart Beginnings thanks you

Thank you to the SSP families who helped Bright Beginnings this year...your contributions make a difference!  Thank you Parents' Council and especially Molly Dey for making this happen!


I just wanted to take the moment to express again how  much I appreciate your kindness to me and all our programs throughout the last couple years.  The materials that you have shared with us have been amazingly helpful to so many of our programs that have so little.

Greta Morris, Smart Beginnings


Summer Office Hours

The St. Stephen's Preschool office will be open intermittently throughout the summer.  We will, however, be checking email and phone messages regularly, so please do get in touch.

If you are interested in applying, please leave your email, home address or phone number and we will get back to you.  You may prefer to apply online at 

Email Director Marion Chenault at, Administrative Coordinator, Kay Tyler at or call 804-288-6401.

Thanks for your interest in St. Stephen's Preschool.

Summer Camp Fun!

Water, sand, woods, and fun!  Perhaps these words best describe St. Stephen’s summer camp this year. 

Each age group, from our youngest toddlers from the Toddler Morning Out class to our oldest campers, was greeted with rooms designed to delight the senses.

Each group got wet!   Whether the children were splashing dolphins and whales in the raised pool or sliding down the twisting playground slide into a pool filled with water, they reveled in the water play.

Some sat around a “campfire” in the blue room and roasted marshmallows, while others were sure to turn the lights of the four person jeep on as they traveled into the world of their imaginations.

What would a beach be without sand and sea shells?  Sensory bins filled with shells and light tables with bugs provided hours of play and experiences.

Thanks to the teachers’ wild imaginations, summer camp was just the right beginning for what we hope will be a fun, adventure filled, relaxing summer for your family!


Congratulations to the 2017-18 Preschool Advisory Board


The new St. Stephen’s Preschool Advisory Board has been selected.  Nominated by a committee of the Advisory Board, led this year by Leigh Pace, and approved by the Vestry of St. Stephen’s Church, the new members of the Advisory Board are Marc Ayscue, Jeff Johnson, Mary Douglas Rice, Marty Ritter, and Chip Tompkins.

They join Bill Armstrong, James Driscoll, Wortie Ferrell, Steve Haas, Gary Jones, Burke Lewis, Caroline Marvel, Rebekah McKay, Penny Nash, Stedman Oakey, Taylor Raquet and Susan Taliferro, current Advisory Board members.

The officers for 2017-18 are:

            Wortie Ferrell, President

            Bill Armstrong, Treasurer

            Rebekah McKay, Secretary

            Burke Lewis, Past President   

We welcome the new members and officers.  It is bittersweet to say “goodbye” to Melanie Bean, Matt Horn, and Leigh Pace who are rotating off the Advisory Board after serving the school for the past three years.

TMO Spring Update, May 11, 2017

What a fun year it's been! We've seen so much growth both physically and in verbal expression and such an increase in the children's interest and activity this spring. The children have been experimenting as we talk about and have activities on color and growing things. We planted zinnia seeds with water and a little TLC and had seedlings. We put drops of color in cups and then placed white flowers in the hopes the color would absorb up the stem. Unfortunately our experiment wasn't as successful as we had hoped. A few petals took on the color and it was a learning experience.

We watched what happens when we mixed primary colors. The children fingerpainted with primary colors to see how blending makes new colors.

We have been talking about caterpillars and butterflies and have read "The Very Hungry Caterpillar." The children enjoy reading along and talking about all he ate. They have painted a caterpillar and made dot-dot caterpillars.

In the classroom, we had 5 caterpillars and watched them eat and grow, then waited...and waited...whille they were in their chrysalids. We were fortunate and excited that the butterfies emerged while we were at school. The children were fascinated as the butterflies spread their wings and flew around in the butterfly cage. 

We have been grateful for the beautiful weather.  Playground time has allowed the children to expend all the pent up energy from the previous rainy days.

We took a walk to the church garden to get a closer look at the water fountain. The children had fun playing "I Spy" to look for flowers and bugs.

Thank you for the beautiful flowers and treats for teacher's week. We appreciate your kindness.

What a wonderful year it has been! Your little ones have grown so much and we count ourselves fortunate to spend our mornings with them. We plan on taking the children to the Purple room to see Sarah and Amy and the the space they will be in the fall. Transitions can be difficult and we encourage you to talk to your children about things that will stay the same and things that will change next year. Your reassurance will go a long way in the ease of their adjustment. We look forward to the next couple of weeks, hopefully with nice weather.

We wish you and your families a safe, restful, adventure-filled summer.
Leslie and Christine

End of the Year Program, May 25, 2017

You won’t want to miss it!  Join your children to celebrate the end of another wonderful year at St. Stephen’s Preschool.  Our End of the Year program for the children and families in the Red, Aqua, Blue, Green and Yellow rooms will be Thursday, May 25th at 11:00 in the Fellowship Hall. After a morning of song and watching photos of the children from throughout the year, each class will gather for popsicles and camaraderie at designated spots on the grounds. 

NOTE: Classes will begin at 9 am as usual and dimissed after the program.


Happy Birthday, St. Stephen's Preschool

The children celebrated Spirit Day, an annual event, with a parade through the church and grounds, ending on the playground.  There a great surprise honoring the 45th anniversary of the school waited. The cupcakes with a birthday banner were a big hit.  The children sang Happy Birthday, then dug into their yummy treats.  Thank you, Parents’ Council.

In the afternoon we had a full house for the Fit and Fun lunch bunch.  The children played games, navigated obstacle courses and came inside red in the face with smiles and exertion.  Thanks to everyone who supported this playground fundraiser, especially the teachers who volunteered their time.  Fit and Fun was a great success for all the players!


Later in the afternoon parents and children flocked to Kay Tyler’s house for Spirit Night.  It was an evening filled with great food, beautiful surroundings, face painting, bouncy houses and school spirit. Thanks especially to Kay and William Tyler for hosting us and to the Parents’ Council organizing the entire event.


Throughout this year, Sandy Williams with Sass & Frass Photography has been photographing the children going about their days in preschool.  In addition she has taken photos of each class so you, and we, will have a snapshot of your child’s class. 

Now is your chance to order both the class photos and the candids of your choice. We hope you will enjoy viewing these and will purchase the ones you want to keep. No login is required.

Please see the following link to view and order these adorable photos. The link will be live for 30 days so place your order before the end of the school year. Your purchase also benefits the preschool, as Sandy contributes a small portion of the purchase price to the school.

St. Stephen’s Preschool Offers Extended Day

Have you been wondering if your child could benefit from a longer school day but might not quite be ready to start a kindergarten program next year?  Our Extended Day program could be just the answer for you and your child. 

We offer Extended Day to children 4.5 years and older.  Children who participate in Extended Day attend school each day, Monday through Friday, until 2:00 pm.

Extended Day includes individual, small and whole group enriching activities planned and led by two teachers, Laura Nelson and Jody Lester.  During the children’s learning time the teachers include STEAM (science, technology, engineering, art and math), language and literacy experiences.  

This year the children have built robot cars, tested ramp heights and speed, engaged in innumerable math activities (using manipulatives), predicted and tested science “guesses”  and started "reading" sight words using simple games, songs and books.  Everything is done on the child's level and intended to peak his/her interest and encourage love of learning.

In addition to the teacher designed activities, the Extended Day children attend each special enrichment session offered throughout the year as a regular part of their program (at no additional charge).  The Extended Day special enrichment programs have included soccer, movement, Spanish, cooking class and Virginia Rep's Tiny Tales and more!

Not only do the children have an opportunity for a longer day and carefully structured extended learning, this setting provides an environment in which strong friendships and partnerships develop. And of course, there is always time for playing, which is the work of children at St. Stephen's Preschool.

If you are considering this opportunity, contact Marion or Laura and Jody, the Extended Day teachers, who will be glad to discuss this program with you.

5 DAY UPDATE: May 1, 2017

Five Day children have had fun celebrating the Earth and all its gifts. Now we are taking a closer look at butterflies and bugs. The caterpillars we have been watching are emerging from their chrysalids this week.  Soon we’ll have painted lady butterflies.

Next week, we will be celebrating summer with a beach theme and Spirit Day! Spirit Day is Thursday, May 11th. Please have your child wear his/her St. Stephen’s T shirt or a shirt the color of his/her classroom to show school spirit!!!

Aqua Room

We whipped up some delicious dirt in the Aqua Room! The children had fun crushing Oreos, stirring and scooping pudding, and topping it off with a gummy worm.

The children also worked to make paper seed balls for planting. They shredded and soaked newspaper to make pulp, then pressed the pulp onto a screen to remove excess water, folded seeds into the pressed pulp, and lastly rolled the mixture into a ball.

Blue Room

The Blue Room is buzzing with activity. The children are having a lot of fun pretending to be butterflies. They can put on wings and flutter around the flowers in search of the yummy nectar

Many of the children have been enjoying creating a city complete with a zoo, ocean, buildings lots of twists and turns.

Green room

We have had a lot of fun reusing and repurposing materials in the green room as we talked about Earth Day.

The children dipped egg carton pieces in paint in order to create a beautiful flower mobile.

Now they’re painting branches for their caterpillars.

Yellow Room

In honor of Earth Day, the Yellow Room the children have been strengthening their hands by picking up “letter trash” with the fun claws. Then they flatten out the paper and identify each letter they picked up and count how many pieces of trash they picked up. Math, letter identification and fine motor skills all rolled into one fun activity!

At the science table we are also reusing biodegradable packing peanuts.  The children dipped them in water and then stuck them to the cardboard. Some children just enjoyed exploring the process and some children created with a plan.


May 11th Spirit Day: Wear your room color or St. Stephen’s Preschool T shirt to show your school spirit.

Please join us for the End of the Year Program on Thursday, May 25th at 11:00. Each class will meet and enjoy a Popsicle together after the program.

Red Room Update - May 1, 2017

The Red Room is filled with butterflies and blooms! 

Metamorphosis is the “Big Science Word” we are learning and we are actually watching this process happen in our own classroom.  Our five caterpillars made their individual chrysalids, and we are waiting patiently for our beautiful painted lady butterflies to emerge.

The children have decorated caterpillars and made beautiful butterflies out of colorful pieces of construction paper and tissue paper that they have torn while working on fine motor skills.

As part of our science discovery, we have also learned that flowers have many parts - the roots, stem, leaves, and petals.  The children have loved putting together a huge puzzle with all of these parts and painting gardens using small toy rakes.

The sensory box is full of potting soil with plastic flowers, shovels, small flower pots and plastic bugs that live in the dirt! The children love exploring in the soil and seeing how it feels on their hands.

Flower arranging has also been fun.  They children used plastic flowers and stuck them inside the holes of a colander or in oasis.  Perhaps you’d like some help at home.

The children have also enjoyed examining different flower seeds of all sizes, counting flowers in cups, using a clothes pin to move and count pom poms on flower counting charts.

As we close the year, we will focus on the importance of our mommies and honoring you on Mother’s Day.  Atthe very end we will explore the ocean! 

Next week is SPIRIT Week.  On Thursday, the children will have a parade and 45th birthday party for SSP.  Remind your child to wear his/her St. Stephen’s T shirt or a red T shirt on that day.

We are looking forward to seeing you at Spirit Night, our family picnic, which is from 5:30 to 7:30 at 4204 Sulgrave Road on the 11th. We’ll wrap up the year Thursday, May 26th at 11 with our End of the Year program. 

It’s been a wonderful year, getting to know your children and you.  It’s hard to believe how fast it’s flown by.  Thank you for all of your help, your encouragement and sending your children to the Red room.  It’s been a joy!


Blanche and Debbie

Important Dates to Remember:

Spirit Day at SSP and Family Fun in the evening - Thursday May 11th

End of the Year Picnic - Monday, May 15th 11:15 am

End of the Year School Program - Thursday, May 25th 11:00 am

TMO Thursday-Friday Class Spring Update

Spring is in the air in the TMO Thursday/Friday class!  The children have been busy sorting plastic Easter eggs. 
They also enjoyed hunting for the hidden eggs and ducks in the Easter sensory bin. 




They painted bunnies using their choice of different spring colors.


Hammering golf tees into a Styrofoam block was another interesting way to work those small muscles and hand eye coordination.

Their small muscles were at work as they squeezed water out of sponges to give the ducks a bath. 

Play dough is always an inviting way for children to strengthen their fingers and imagination.

8 TMO ThF Pix 2017.jpg

In movement class, Preston has been working on the children’s gross motor development as well as their core strength.  Climbing onto the big foam block and then jumping off was fun for all!

If your children haven’t already told you, we have live caterpillars in our classroom.  We have been talking about how they will grow and what big changes they will go through to become butterflies.  We’re already becoming young scientists.

We will be reading The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle in the coming weeks and engaging in some fun activities relating to this book. 

With only a few weeks to go this school year, we are so amazed at how much your children have grown and changed.  It has been so rewarding!  We are looking forward to enjoying the rest of the school year with your children.

Christine and Liz

Dates to remember:

May 8-12 Spirit Week

May 11 – Spirit Day – Wear a St. Stephen’s T shirt or an orange one for our special 45th birthday celebration.

May 11 – Spirit Night, 5:30– A picnic dinner for the entire family.  More to come.