Happy Summer!

SSP officially closes June 14th until August 28th. 

Kay Tyler, Kelly Jones and Marion Chenault will be in intermittently checking messages, mail and answering emails throughout the summer.  Any papers slipped under the door of the office will stay safe until the office staff picks them up, so feel free to return paperwork at any time. 

Look for an email soon to confirm your family's contact information for the 2018-19 SSP Handbook & Directory and a Back-to-School packet with more details in early August.

See you in September, when we open again in earnest for another school year.    

Summer Camp FUN!

Once again, summer camp had been a blast!  Whether the children have been “at the beach” or making their own food during the Farm to Table experience, they’ve been engaged with each other, their teachers and the materials presented.

Our older preschool students have made their own snacks – kale, zucchini, corn, and cucumbers from the Farmers’ Market – and green beans, bananas and garbanzo bean dip.  We are so grateful to the farmers of the Farmer’s Market for donating the produce to the church Food Pantry and to us.  We are also grateful to parent, Garner Stewart, who has served as the school’s liaison with the Market. 

As the children helped get the donated foods ready for their snack, they prepared the kale by washing it, tearing the leaves from their stems, painting the leaves with oil and spices, then reveled in eating the roasted kale. They, and some of the teachers, tried kale for the first time, and loved it! Shucking corn was a new activity for some.  It’s a great way for your child to help at home.

Eli. with Rudy's Exotic Mushrooms and Produce (and St. Stephen's Farmer's Market Vendor), visited the Preschool camp children and shared his knowledge about mushrooms. Did you know mushrooms should be cooked to get the most nutritional benefit? 

The campers in the Red room, graduates of the Purple Room, have adapted well to their new classroom with Blanche Bruns and Jelena Subotic.  Whether it’s been tray activities, “grilling”, creating with playdough or sorting shells, these summer campers have stayed busy.  Water Day was a smash hit with multiple ways of getting wet and playing in the water.  

The children in the Orange room have been socializing, playing, working, and choosing activities in both the Orange and Purple Rooms.  Christine Bordwine, Debbie Temple and Ellie Caplice are watching over the youngest campers as they navigate their new beachy activities. 

This year, in addition to the wonderful staff, we have been fortunate to have three volunteers helping with camp.  One is a 2007 SSP graduate and rising Junior at Trinity and the other two are rising juniors from St. Catherine's in the Junior Internship Program. Each has brought energy, talent and care to our summer campers.  Thank you!


Fond Farewell...

Marcie S&F.jpg

Thirty two years is a long time, even cumulatively….. Yet it seems just a flash since Leslie Bien and Marcie Moyer began at St. Stephen’s Preschool.  If we add Dawn Childs’ three year tenure, that number becomes thirty five years of excellence. 

Nurturing both parents and little ones, Leslie Bien has spent the last twenty years here in the Toddler Morning Out classroom.  We will miss her gentle way with the children, her creation of an appropriately stimulating environment for exploration and her support of the parents who were new to parenting.  

Marcie Moyer has almost done it all!  She began teaching at St. Stephen’s in 2006 in a Toddler classroom, then moved for three years as lead in our Red room.  For the last eight years Marcie has been in the Five Day program, as either a Green or Yellow room teacher.  Ever thinking of new and better ways to inspire our students, Marcie has added greatly to our curriculum and organization.  We will surely miss her, but will stay in touch as some of our children transition to Collegiate where she will be assistant Kindergarten teacher.

The End of the Year program said it all!  The children of St. Stephen’s Preschool love Dawn Childs and her musical inspiration.   The face of every child in the school lights up when Dawn walks in the classroom.  They can’t wait!  Dawn’s energy, lilting voice and charisma delight us all.  St. Michael’s is fortunate to have Dawn’s talent and smile.  

With love and appreciation we say, “Bon Voyage” to these three wonderful teachers. 

Thank you!

Welcome New Advisory Board Members 

The Advisory Board of St. Stephen’s Preschool is invaluable!  Wise counsel, sharp minds and keen eyes all, this group assures that the preschool’s mission is clear, its finances sustainable and that it functions well as a mission of the church.

This Board is comprised of the Rector and his clergy member, parents, past and present, and community and church members who have a special interest in the school and skills that support it.

It is with appreciation and sadness that we say, “Thank You and Good-bye” to Steve Haas, Rebekah McKay, Stedman Oakey, Taylor Raquet and Susan Taliaferro for their service for the past three years. 

The Rector of St. Stephen’s, Gary Jones, and Associate Rector, Penny Nash are members of the Board, along with Chip Tompkins, Vestry Representative.  Continuing their terms are Marc Ayscue, Julia Ayscue (Parents’ Council Co Chair), James Driscoll, Jeff Johnson, Caroline Marvel, Mary Douglas Rice (Parents’ Council Co Chair) and Marty Ritter.  

We now welcome the new members - Lee Batten, Woody Cheuk, Lee Drummond, Andy Luke and Meredith Watson - as the newest members of the St. Stephen’s Advisory Board.  Their terms expire in 2021.

Newly elected as officers for 2018-2019 are:

                Wortie Ferrell, President

                Burke Lewis, Past President

                Bill Armstrong, Treasurer

                Katie Payne, Secretary

The school is privileged to be guided and supported by such a strong and committed group.


Purple 3 Day Update

The children have grown in so many ways this year.  Sad as it will be for us to say good-bye to them, we can see that many of them are really ready to move on.  Some days it feels as though we have outgrown our space.   They started the year with solitary play and are now playing not just in pairs but in groups.  There is a lot of talk of best friends and best buddies.  The children understand that their classmates are friends they can turn to, invite to play, console and encourage.  There is a true sense of camaraderie among them.

We often say to the children, “Use your words.”  We are now able to be more explicit, saying “Explain your idea.”  We can give them a simple example of what we mean and they implement the suggestion and use it again, transferring it to another situation.  It’s remarkable to see.  For example, two children are digging in the sandbox and suddenly one is very upset but the other has no idea why. We say to the one who is upset, “Explain your idea.  Help your friend see what you’re trying to do.  Explain where you want the sand to be and what you’re trying to create.  Otherwise he doesn’t understand why putting the sand in the wagon is upsetting to you.  Maybe even ask him what his idea was then decide whose idea you want to use."

The children have thoroughly enjoyed planting seeds.  Recently, after reading One Bean, by Anne Rockwell, we put beans between wet paper towels and after they sprouted, we planted them in soil.  Your child brought home a bean plant last week.  Keep us posted if you have a bumper crop!  We also created Mixed Media gardens as you will see hanging in the hallway.

We are blessed for the opportunity to care for these children.
Sarah & Amy

Purple Room 2 Day Update


The children have grown in so many ways this year.  Sad as it will be for us to say good-bye to them, we can see that many of them are ready to move on.  Many parents have told me that their child would love to be in school more days.  This is when you know they are ready!

The children have thoroughly enjoyed planting radish and cucumber seeds.  Last week, after reading One Bean, by Anne Rockwell, we put beans between wet paper towels and this week we will see if they have sprouted, then plant them in soil.  We created Mixed Media gardens as you will see hanging in the hallway.

We have created cloud paintings and talked about what we see in the clouds, just like in It Looked Like Split Milk, by Charles G. Shaw.

We have been blessed with the care of these children.

Thank you!

Sarah & Amy











A Big Thank You!!!

Our Parents’ Council has been charged with making sure the St. Stephen’s community has fun.  At Spirit Night they exceeded expectations!

Thank you Kari Hyman and Annie Turner for Spirit Night and the great triumvirate of events we’ve had this year. To Julia Ayscue and Mary Douglas Rice, our Parents’ Council Co-Chairs goes a round of applause for their leadership. 

We dressed up, laughed, and got to know each other at the first annual Trunk-or-Treat in October. It was such fun the Parents’ Council has already set the date for 2018 - October 26th.

 On the only decent day in January, we tasted amazing chili and mac and cheese, were a little competitive and had a blast watching our children play together and did a little of that ourselves.

At Spirit Night they did it again!  We experienced a new venue, yummy food and great company.  Thank you Kari and Annie.

Thank you all those of you who have done so much for the preschool.  We, the teachers, want each of you to know how much your support means to us, every day.  You are in the snack room; you feed us on staff meeting days and you design and distribute all the wonderful St. Stephen’s wares.  You read, you host us for parties and egg hunts, you thank us and you are support each of us.

Sooooo, from the bunch of us, a huge thank you and a small token of our appreciation.  If you have volunteered at the school in any way this year, we hope you received your begonia at Spirit NIght or from the snack room last week and know that it was planted and tied with love.

Thanks from all of us!

Special Visitors from St. Andrew's

A group of first graders from St. Andrew's School visited our 5-day students today. Their teachers' read Wings of Change by Franklin Hill, to the students about the butterfly life cycle,  then the students acted out the life cycle.  Our guests, in turn, got to pet our chicks that hatched this week!

Many thanks to everyone who donated much-needed STEAM supplies to St. Andrew's School!


In preparation for Easter the children explored egg dying using both artificial and natural dyes.  The colors from the beets, coffee, turmeric, blueberries and red cabbage were subtle and lovely, and the children always love the bright commercial dyes.  Thanks to the teachers, all the eggs were hard boiled and ready for both dying and peeling. The children, using their small finger muscles, peeled the hard boiled eggs and then enjoyed a healthy snack.

A new material, modeling clay, was added to the Green room selection, for children to create birds’ nests filled with eggs.  Clay is fun, creative and requires a harder touch than play dough, again, building those muscles for holding pencils and strong grips.

In conjunction with talk about eggs and what comes from eggs came a classroom wide emphasis on farms.  (Where else would we find eggs?) We were excited to have a visit from the Teeny Tiny Farm last week to give the children an opportunity to touch, feel and listen to a host of very small farm animals.

Now we are counting down with excitement for our seventeen eggs to hatch April 30th in the incubator in the Blue room. We have had fun making chick life cycle flip books. In addition, we have used eggs to watch the process of osmosis. Can dyed water slide through an egg shell? Check out 3 Insanely Cool Egg Experiments - Playdough To Plato to find out!

Next week, we will celebrate Earth Day all week long! Please send in recyclable materials.

Your 5 Day Teachers,
Marcie Moyer, Laura Nelson, Whitney Thouron and Paige Archer


Spring is always a wonderful season in the Purple room.  With talk of Easter, bunnies, dragons, gardens, carrots and frogs, we’re enjoying every minute.

We talked about Easter with both its serious and it playful side.  In the lighter vein, there were eggs and bunnies in artwork, in fine motor activities and in the sensory bins.  Thank you to the Stringers and Drummonds for hosting our class Easter Egg Hunts!  

Following Easter we have had dinosaur adventures, construction sensory play, pretend gardening and seed planting.  Our radish seeds are an inch tall!

There’s a “market” in the kitchen area in which the children love to pretend they are buying and selling fruits and vegetables.  The cash register provides wonderful pretend play opportunities.

Continuing this year’s class endeavor to create the animals in Eric Carle’s Brown Bear, Brown Bear, we used sponges and green paint to create the paper which will become "Green Frog”.  Check out our walls for the latest addition.

Please apply sunscreen each morning.  We will eek out as much time outdoors as we can in the coming weeks and want to be sure those tender skins are protected.  

4/26 – Spirit Day, wear purple or your SSP T shirt
4/26 – Spirit Night for families at the Westwood Club, 5:30-7:30
5/22 - Last Day - Class Picnic for Toddler 2
5/24 – Last Day – Class Picnic for Toddler 3


TMO Monday-Tuesday Update

I enjoyed meeting with everyone at conferences. It's so nice to be able to share the pictures of your children at play and talk about how much your children have grown.

Everyone is happy to be at school and back in our routine. The children have been really enjoying playing dress up, painting and playing in our big box house. They especially liked painting the house with  brushes and rollers.

We are looking forward to warmer weather and planting and will be getting caterpillars soon.  Watching caterpillars go through the stages to turn into butterflies is fascinating for both the adults and the children. It's a wonderful way to end the year.

Thank you for sharing your children with us every week. We are blessed to spend our mornings with them.
Leslie and Christine


The Red room is having a great time exploring the farm with all of its equipment, plants and animals! The children are loving mimicking the sounds of the animals. Another of the activities the children are enjoying is decorating barns using a variety of materials, then sticking farm animals inside.

At the tray table children are sorting and counting animals and matching colored pig tails with similarly colored pig bottoms.  They are painting pigs in the mud with marbles and making cow head bands. Playing with farm animals in the mud then washing them off with tooth brushes in soapy water has been a particular favorite.  Experiencing the texture of “mud”, made with cornstarch and brown paint, is a new feeling, enhanced by having  plastic pigs to roll in the mixture - such great sensory experiences.

The Teeny Tiny Farm will be visiting the school Thursday, April 12th.  The children will be able to see and touch a variety of farm animals!

Thank you as always for all of your support and for sharing your children with us.


Blanche, Debbie and Jelena

Conferences and Easter holiday reminders


Tomorrow is Parent/Teacher Conference day for the TMO Wednesday, Thursday/Friday, Toddler 3 Day, Red Room and 5 Day classrooms.

Child care will be available either in the movement room or playground depending on weather. Suggested fee is $5 per family.

Classes will resume Wednesday. Please note the following schedule for TMO, Toddler 2 and 3 day classes:

Wed, April 4: Toddler 2 day class and TMO Wednesday classes meet
Thurs, April 5: Toddler 3 day and TMO M/ T classes meet
Fri, April 6: Toddler 3 day and TMO Th/F classes meet

Wishing everyone a safe and happy Easter holiday!