Red Room News - October

During October the Red Room has enjoyed learning about apples and fire safety. We have been very busy and having so much fun. Please continue to ask your child daily about what he or she is enjoying in the classroom, what makes him or her smile. The children are eager to share and they are learning so much! Over the next few weeks our concentration will be fall, pumpkins and Halloween.

In Art we’ve used apples and fire safety as our themes for creating dot, dot, finger, wheel and easel painting, Collages of fire trucks offered the children the opportunity to touch and glue various materials and textures.

In the sensory box are pretend apples which the children could sort into baskets based on shapes, sizes and colors.  They loved the opportunity to squirt the “flames” there with a water bottle.

The children have been working on strengthening and using fine motor skills while working with playdoh, apples cutting (for applesauce), moving pom poms with tongs, tearing paper, peeling stickers and manipulating pony beads during bracelet making. They’re exercising their large muscles on the playground while swinging, climbing, sliding, pushing equipment, throwing, catching and tossing.

Tasting yellow, green and red apples and making and eating our own applesauce have been sensory delights.  Both applesauce and apples were delicious.  The children decorated muffins with icing, mixing primary colors to make new colors.  Yumm!

We’ve read Under the Apple Tree, Ten Apples on Top, Autumn is for Apples, We All Fall for Apples, I’m A Fire Fighter, Curious George At The Fire Station

Thank you as always for sharing your children with us! Also a big thank you to all of the parents who volunteered to walk to the fire station and to the parents who have made playdoh!

Blanche, Debbie and Jelena

Purple Room News - October 16

We enjoyed making crockpot applesauce together recently.  Only a few children tried it, but those who did enjoyed multiple servings.  Amazingly, thanks to the wonderful variety of apples you sent in, apples were our only ingredient!  The results were truly delicious.  

We had fun using a sensory pouring station created by the older classes which was on the playground for a few days.  The students poured beans and corn into chutes and funnels and watched with delight as they emerged sometimes in unexpected places.  In the classroom, we have a new sensory bin with corn, farm animals, tractors, silos and more.  

We continue to enjoy dramatic play, cognitive opportunities such as farm animal sorting by color, fine motor activities such as placing red pompoms on an apple tree or squeezing bubble wrap, and gross motor activities such as building a tall tower out of foam blocks.  

We have Music on Mondays with Dawn and Movement on Tuesdays with Preston.  I will be sure to take pictures soon in those classes and send them to you.

Our love of Eric Carle continues.  Your children have delved into painting large murals in the style of Eric Carle which we are transforming into some familiar characters from his books.  You will see the large sun and now a Brown Bear on the back wall of our room.  The children’s engagement with his books is that much richer for having explored his style of art in a hands-on manner.

By the end of next week, every child will have had a “Big Day” so we will then start back at the beginning.  Many of them are actually saying “Please Come In” when they open the door which is fabulous.  This is their first foray into public speaking.  A list of upcoming Big Days will be at the very end of this email, following the pictures.

We are frequently reminding the children to “Use your words, not your body”.  Repetition over time will be the key.  Thank you for helping us by reinforcing this at home.  When they use their bodies instead of their words to try to get a toy that they want or a seat that’s already taken, you can imagine the results!

Your children delight us each day with their warmth and curiosity.  It is a pleasure to teach them.

Sarah & Amy


St. Stephen’s Preschool graduate, Graham Twente, and six of his fellow Boy Scouts from St. Stephen’s Troop 418, installed two rain barrels on the preschool playground.  Graham began planning the project last spring to complete the requirements for his Eagle badge, the highest rank a Scout can earn.

After many drafts and meetings, it was installed Saturday, September 30th.  What a treat it was to see Hunter Locher join Graham’s crew of five other scouts working to improve the playground where they once played.

Thank you, Graham, for your thoughtful planning, organization and execution skills.  This important access to water on the playground has been put to use with children turning the spigot on and off, making mud pies, watering Elsa's Garden and generally getting wet because of you! 


5 DAY News

This week, the 5-day students enjoyed discussing our families and lots of activities inspired by author Mo Willems and artist Piet Mondrian. The Aqua Room designed a fun sensory experience for the playground using beans and tubes. The children also enjoyed using the water from the new rain barrels to make mud pies. Next week, we will explore Apples!

TMO Monday/Tuesday News

The TMO class has settled into the regular schedule. Thank you for your patience during phase-in, it has allowed the children to gradually be introduced to the TMO classroom and routine. The tears are normal and have all but disappeared. It's wonderful to see the children's smiles as they enter the classroom.  You all have done a great job of making a quick exit after reassuring the children of your return and giving them a hug and a kiss good bye. The children are happy at school and are quickly learning the schedule of the day. The beautiful weather has made outdoor time a delight! The children enjoy playing in the sandbox, riding in the train, sliding and enjoying the fresh air.

    A science station was set up on the playground and the children had the chance to scoop, and pour birdseed into spots and down tubes. They were fascinated by the cause and effect.

We have begun our special programs, Music and Movement. In our music class with Dawn Childs the children listened to songs, finger plays, a story and the chance to play musical instruments. The children are learning about circle time and sitting together as a group. It's a new experience for most, so often some children observe from outside the circle as others sit. At this age we allow the children to make the choice to sit or observe, but we encourage their participation.

We have also had movement class with Preston Blackburn. The children are given the opportunity to use large muscles as they jump through hoops, toss balls into baskets, stack cones and kick balloons in the large indoor playroom.

It has been a busy beginning, we are excited to welcome fall weather and continuing getting to know each other.  Please note that Monday, October 9th is Columbus Day holiday.  We will see you on Tuesday.  If there are any questions or concerns at any time please let us know.

Leslie and Christine

Purple Room News - October 3, 2017

Amy and I are continuing to reinforce the expectations for behavior at school.  For example, it is perfectly normal at this age for children to grab toys from one another, however we are teaching them to say, “This is my work” and we remind them that we don’t take something that is in someone else’s hands.  We also are frequently talking about personal space and would appreciate your help in guiding them to an understanding of this.  It is especially helpful at circle time for them to understand that they are each entitled to their personal space.  

Eric Carle has been our featured author and we have painted, as a group, in the style of Eric Carle.  You will notice a large sun setting over our bulletin board that strongly resembles the sun in The Very Hungry Caterpillar.

Here are some of the books we have read: 

            • Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What do you See?

            • The Very Hungry Caterpillar

            • Polar Bear, Polar Bear, What do you Hear?

            • From Head to Toe

            • Does a Kangaroo Have a Mother, Too?

            • The Artist Who Painted a Blue Horse

            • Eric Carle’s ABC

            • Eric Carle’s 123

This month we will be focused on Fall on the Farm.  There will be farm themes throughout the classroom and we will talk about leaves changing and apple picking.  We will make applesauce and apple paintings.  Your children will think about which color apple they prefer.  Be sure to point out all the changes occurring in nature all around us as the temperatures drop and the days grow shorter.  

Thank you for entrusting your children to us!  It is an honor and a pleasure to teach them.

Sarah & Amy


TODDLER MORNING OUT - Wednesday and Thursday-Friday Classrooms

The children have completed phase-in and are beginning to learn the morning routine.  Thanks so much for your patience with the graduated schedule.  It makes such a difference for your children who are beginning to feel more comfortable in their classroom with their new friends. 

We are enjoying getting to know your little ones and watching them engage in the many activities in the classroom.

Some of the play areas that have been favorites with the children are:

Art:  markers, crayons, and chalk

Dramatic play:  feeding and strolling the baby dolls

Music:  After our first music class with Dawn, the children have so enjoyed playing on their own drums.

Snack time:  It’s great watching the children learn to sit together and enjoy eating with their friends.

 Book area:   The children regularly go to the comfy pillows with the stuffed animals and to hear a book.    

In the coming weeks, we will be doing many activities that focus on Fall.



Red Room Update - September 22, 2017

We have completed our Phase-In and we are beginning to learn what it is like to be a whole group together! It has been such a delight getting to know your children and watching them engage with old friends and new ones. Phase-In helped each child have the special time and attention he/she needed to get accustomed to a new classroom.

The children are adjusting to the daily routine of the carpool line, open and closing circle, the snack time process, making choices in the room and learning how to clean up work before making a new choice, saying words to express themselves, and respecting their friends and teachers. The below are some highlights, but not all of what we have been doing over the past two weeks.

Themes: Me, My Family and My Friends

Song: “Look Who Came to School Today” to the tune of Mary Had A Little Lamb- helps the children learn one another's names in a fun way

Art: Family sponge painting, easel friend painting, balloon painting friendship mural, dot dot girl/ boy, strawberries

Fine Motor: monkey and bananas with tongs, strawberries with pom poms and tongs, friendship bracelets with pony beads and pipe cleaners

Gross Motor: Shaving cream with red food coloring

Sensory Box: red shiny packing paper with red items hidden, rice with funnels, cups, spoons and rakes, moon sand

Books: The Little Mouse,The Red Ripe Strawberry, and The Big Hungry Bear, Clifford Makes a Friend, Clifford’s First Day of School, The Kissing Hand, This is My Family, New Shoes, Red Shoes

Manipulatives: puzzles, shape recognition, bunchems, squids, sorting pets by color

Looking ahead, we will be exploring fall and Apples! Thank you for all of your support and excitement as we have completed the first few weeks! We are going to have a wonderful year guiding, nurturing and loving your precious children.

Blanche,  Debbie and Jelena

It’s Snack Time!

To keep the snack room supplied for our active students, please send fruits and vegetables each week.  We have specific requirements for the non-perishable items and can accept Original Triscuits, Original Wheat Thins, Rold Gold pretzels or Original Cheerios.

Thank you to the Five Day parents for signing up for the Snack Room.  We really appreciate your support. If you didn’t receive an invitation to SignUp to sign up or would like to add the email address for another parent, caregiver or family member, please contact the office at

Many thanks to Erin Nord, mother of Blue Room student, Charlotte, for volunteering your time as the Snack Room Coordinator this year. 

Upcoming Events 

September 14   CHOICES! Last day to pre-register with discount for Lunch Bunch and Early Morning Drop Off

7:00 pm New Parent Orientation, Fellowship Hall

                                7:30 pm Open House, all parents, Fellowship Hall

September 15   5 Day Regular Schedule Begins

September 18 – Early Morning Drop Off begins

                                Lunch Bunch/Enrichment Afternoons begin

                                Extended Day Class begins

October 1 – 6:00 pm Parent Welcome Party, Rice’s home

October 9 – Columbus Day, school closed

Babies, babies, babies!


It's been a busy summer outside the classroom as our St. Stephen’s family is growing!

A warm welcome to these new family members:

Ann Campbell Drummond, born June 10 to Michael and Lee and big sister Margaret, who is in the Purple 3 Day class.

Sloane Wallace Rice, born June 22 to Paul and Mary Douglas and big sister Winnie, who is in the Blue room.

Jack Connolly Bell, born on July 10 to Andrew and Katie and big brother Finn, who is in the TMO Thursday-Friday class.

James Hodge, born August 8 to David and Lolly Hodge and big brother, Clark, who is in the TMO Thursday-Friday class.

John Spencer Brown was born on August 25 to Tyler and Jane Garnet and big brother Carter, who is in the Blue room.

Sage Milefsky was born on August 30 to Greg and Molly and big brother Milo, who is in the Purple 3 Day class.

Marion's Message

Creating Beauty Together!

Each of you has received a letter, along with a piece of card stock, on which you’ve been asked to trace your child’s hand, cut it out, and decorate it. We’re excited to see how many different iterations there will be.  Will some of the hands be painted?  Will some have materials glued to them and others made special in some other unique way? No matter how they these 'hand's turn out, they will be special and unique, just like each one of our students at St. Stephen’s Preschool.

Together all of these hands will become our masterpiece, just as you and your children, with each of your unique characteristics and varying backgrounds, will make St. Stephen’s Preschool the special community it will become in 2017. Thank you for helping with our school-wide project and being part of our St. Stephen's community!

In our community are children and parents from different places.  With a student body coming from 23 different zip codes in and around the Richmond area, we will arrive at St. Stephen’s Preschool from all over. 

There are at least 17 children who were born in another country or who have parents or grandparents representing other nationalities.   If you, your child or your child’s grandparents come from another country or speak a second language, I have a special request.  Please write, in the language and script of your country of origin, the word “Welcome” on a legal size (8 ½ x 14) or a regular size (8 ½ x 11) sheet of copy paper.  We will line the halls with your words, welcoming all to St. Stephen’s Preschool.

At least four of our children are bilingual. Though we are not as accomplished as they, knowing two languages, while speaking English, we will learn together!

Welcome to a new year at St. Stephen’s. Welcome to our community! 


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