December 2013

Letter from the Director

You may be familiar with the South African term “Ubuntu”.  As Bishop Desmond Tutu has described it, “Ubuntu is the essence of being a person. It means that we are people through other people. We cannot be fully human alone. We are made for interdependence. We are made for family. When you have Ubuntu, you embrace others.”

As we enter this new holiday season, I have been thinking a lot about relationships. During the holiday season, we are busy – Christmas Programs, travel, shopping, cooking, baking, school commitments, and so much more. Without family and traditions, I would be lost. These are the things that ground me.

One of my favorite traditions that we look forward to, is one that I have been practicing since my own childhood.  Each Christmas morning my boys wake up early, creep into our bedroom, and take up camp on our bed. While my husband makes the coffee and cocoa, I read Babar and Father Christmas to the children. Sitting on my bed, with my family surrounding me and reading this book that my parents read to me as a child, brings me such joy.  I feel filled with love, gratitude and Ubuntu.

I have much to be grateful for this year.  I have found a place where the aim is to help children learn to develop and nurture relationships with others. You cannot wrap this feeling up, place a gift tag on it – you cannot buy the gift of developing and taking care of relationships.

Being here, with you, your children and our wonderful teachers I feel very blessed.  Thank you for welcoming me into this community, for your time and your dedication to your children and our school. My prayer for each of you is to find those moments in the craziness – the moments that fill you with a feeling of Ubuntu.


Jane Walker, Director

Letter from the President

I can’t believe it’s already time for the holidays! I hope you each had a wonderful Thanksgiving full of family and fun. It’s always a favorite holiday of mine and it always gets me excited for Christmas. This year, it seems to be coming faster than ever!

We have some fun holiday traditions approaching at San Marino Community Church Nursery School. First up is our annual Book Fair on December 3-4! It’s always a fun time and a great chance to buy the best of children’s literature as well as a selection of toys and games. 20% of the proceeds goes directly to the Nursery School.

We also have our annual Adopt-a-Family program, which is a great chance to talk to your kids about giving and has a direct positive effect on a community so close to ours. Another one of my favorite holiday traditions at our school involves our fantastic teachers. Their generosity and dedication to our students is unparalleled as each holiday season, they request that they do not receive personal gifts, but rather have families contribute to the Christmas Wish List fund. This fund over the years has provided much needed updates to the school and classrooms – all things that directly benefit our students. Be on the lookout for the Snowman at the entrance of our school later this month.

December can be a very hectic month, but this year, my prayer is that our community is surrounded by only peace and joy. Happy Holidays!


Allison McCroskey, President

Christmas Wish List

This annual tradition began many years ago when our wonderful teachers decided that instead of receiving individual gifts during the holidays, they would prefer that families contribute to the Christmas Wish List, our schools only fundraising activity.  Your donations will allow us to provide our teachers with new educational tools and bring in special programs for our children.

This year, the teachers have wished for items such as a toy gas station for the play yard, several sets of building toys, a block cart for Room 5, and wall mounted soap dispensers.  The Christmas Wish List provides funding for programs such as a live animal show, a traveling aquarium, and the Bubble show.  It also supports the Parent Education series.

Beginning Thursday, December 12, a snowman will be placed at the entrance of the nursery school.  This snowman will be collecting the donation envelopes that will be placed in your child’s cubby.  In lieu of purchasing teacher gifts during this holiday season, we hope you will consider making a contribution to the Christmas Wish List.

Danica Hughes, Wish List Chair

Adopt-A-Family Program

It’s that special time of year, to share in the joy of giving!  This holiday season, San Marino Community Church Nursery School has adopted five families from La Casa de San Gabriel Community Center.  This tradition is an opportunity to help needy families in our community.

Beginning December 5th, there will be a “Giving Tree” outside your child’s classroom, decorated with ornaments.  There will be a variety of ornaments with either a specific gift request or cash/check donation amount.

If you’d like to participate in our Adopt-a-Family program, select an ornament from the tree. Then sign your name on the list next to the tree.  Please place the wrapped gift or cash/check donation in the box under the tree by Friday, December 13th.  Be sure to tape the ornament to the bottom of the wrapped gift.

This is a wonderful opportunity to demonstrate to your child the gift of giving.  Your generosity will go a long way to make this a Merry Christmas for these families.  Thank you in advance for your participation.


Colleen McGuinness, Scholarship Chair

 Book Fair


Come by the Book Fair this week in Fellowship Hall on Tuesday and Wednesday between 8:45 am- 12:30 pm.  How much easier can it get to finish your holiday shopping? We will have books and educational toys, plus gifts for your entire family! We will wrap everything while you wait! Plus 20% of the proceeds goes directly back to the school.

Don’t forget to look for:

Guest Author – Come meet Frans Vischer, the whimsical mind behind the book, Fuddles on Tuesday morning.

Wish List Tables – Each teacher will have their own table of items they would like to have in their classroom.

Teacher Recommendations Table – Each teacher has provided a list of books that they recommend for your personal library at home.

RAFFLE TABLE – New this year!!! Come by and place your ticket next to a fabulous basket. You could win something wonderful for yourself…or a great gift for someone else!!

See you at the Fair!

Joelle Grossi and Cynthia Chylinski, Book Fair Co-Chairs

Parent Education Update

We are looking forward to our next speaker, our very own Rev. Becca Bateman, SMCC Associate Pastor for Children’s Ministries.  She will bring her enthusiasm to speak about how to incorporate spirituality into our lives, “If you can teach them about Santa, you can teach them about Jesus”.  How very true!  This will be a lively, interactive time.  Please come, enjoy some coffee and company.  It will be sponsored by Mrs. Conkling’s classes.   This free event will take place Tuesday, December 10, 9:15 am in the Community Room.  Babysitting is available for $10.  If you need babysitting, please RSVP to Joy Flores at There will be a raffle to win Picnic Day vouchers for all who attend!

Hong Yoon Plurad, Parent Education Chair

 Picnic Days

Mark your calendar – Picnic day sign-ups for January will open online December 13th at 10 am. Please remember payment is due by noon the following Tuesday, December 17th.

If you have questions, please do not hesitate to contact Jessica Martignetti

Jessica Martignetti, Picnic Day Chair

Thanksgiving Cookies Days

Thank you to all who brought our delicious Thanksgiving treats!

Group 1 (Talbot) – Will O’Connor

Group 2 (Brown) – Jaden Dang

Group 3 (Fitzhugh) – Elsie Griffice

Group 4 (Randall) – Samantha Guzman

Group 5 (Conkling) – Luke Paulus

Group 6 (Perth) – Cooper & Luke Gilligan

Group 7 (Conkling) – Ethan Hsu

Window Coordinator

Many thanks to Alice King and Nicolette Felgner from Mrs. Fitzhugh’s Monday, Wednesday, Friday class for the festive December window display!

 Nursery School Nurture

Nuts & Bolts Recipe (submitted by Jane Walker)

Snappy Stretch Recipe (submitted by Rita Brown)







Chocolate Peppermint Dipped Pretzels (submitted by Allison McCroskey)







Advent Wreath Craft (submitted by Debbie Merryman)

advent wreath