December 2014

Letter From the Director

I hope everyone had a wonderful and relaxing Thanksgiving Holiday with loved ones and cherished friends.  Can you believe it is December already?  I am finding it hard to believe that we are coming to the end of our first semester, and will soon be immersed in all of the holiday music, decorations, projects and activities that winter brings.

As we settle in to our classes this time of year, the teachers and I find that establishing the standards and routines becomes a bit easier now that we know all of the children, and the children are forming friendships with one another.  In most classrooms, teachers have established specific routines for the children to follow.  This means giving the children a specific place to find and keep materials, a set schedule for classroom instruction, activities and outdoor playtime.  These routines, blended with the teacher’s consistent standards, form a smooth running classroom where the children have the security of understanding their environment and are reinforced positively for their contributions.

At home, it is also important to provide routines.  Many families build a daily “quiet time” when the television and tablets and computers are turned off.  This quiet time provides young children the opportunity for one on one time with a parent or caregiver, “reading” time, games or crafts.  During this quiet time a suitable place, somewhat free of other distractions, should be available.  The routine of a daily quiet time provides an opportunity to develop self-discipline, stimulate imagination, and enhance reading skills.

Routines can also make completing chores easier for both children and parents.  If children are consistently expected to complete routine household duties at the same time in the same place, they soon begin to develop a responsibility for their contribution to the family.  If you were lucky enough to attend our Parent Education talk last month with Jill Brown, Krista Diaz, and our own Kim Talbot, you may have learned that the number one indicator of a child’s self worth is whether or not he or she has opportunities to contribute to their family and community.  This self worth is more meaningful than a quick “Good job!” here and there because the child is participating in important ways, and their sense of value is coming from within.  Yes, children as young as three can help to put the silverware in the drawer; place their clothes in low drawers; help pour water into cups at dinnertime.  It may be a little more labor intensive on your part, but in the long run, you will be happy you invested this time – you will have eager helpers and children who feel valued for having a purpose within the home and the greater community.

I hope you will join Ron Eckert for our monthly Parent Education series on December 4 at 9:15 in the Community Room.  He will go more in depth about the importance of building meaningful rituals in the daily lives of our families.  Childhood is a special time of learning, exploration and growth.  Children need to be provided free time to explore their world and experience the joy of discovery.  We are blessed here with a strong community, dedicated teachers, and a school that has a forward vision and the best families anywhere.  It is a joy to be part of every day with them and all of you.  Thank you!

Jane Walker, Director


November Window Display

Many thanks to Room Parents, Theresa Patzakis and Kalia Petmeckey from Mrs. Talbot’s Class for their super fun and incredible November window display!  Happy Holidays!

Rosemary Lay, Window Coordinator


Parent Education

Join us for “Growing and Sustaining Family Rituals,” with Associate Director of Yosemite Sierra Summer Camp, Ron Eckert on Thursday, December 4, at 9:15 in the Community Room.  Rituals strengthen our families during the holidays and throughout the year.  It’s never too late to incorporate family rituals into your life!  For childcare, please contact Joy Flores at

Questions?  Ask Amanda Tracey (  We will raffle off picnic day vouchers.  See you there!


Adopt-A-Family Program

It’s a wonderful time 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.  SMCCNS established this tradition to help underprivileged 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 12th.  Please be sure to tape the ornament to the bottom of the wrapped gift.

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

Nicolette Felgner, Scholarship Chair


Picnic Day

Mark your calendars!  Our next online Picnic Day sign-up will open on Friday, December 12th at 10am.  This sign-up will be for the month of January.

Please remember payment is due by 12 noon the following Tuesday, December 16th.  Checks should be made payable to San Marino Community Church Nursery School. Please indicate your child’s name and the days you are signing up for on the check or on a note attached to the check.  If you must make a cash payment, please attach a note to indicate which family the payment should be credited to and for what dates.  Please contact me with any questions.

Maren Hoecker, Picnic Day Chair


Annual Fund

We have reached 100% participation from our SMCC board for the annual fund!  We are now looking for class participation to be tallied later in the year.  Please be on the lookout for our special snowman displayed at the entrance into the nursery school, or the annual fund box in front of Mrs. Walker’s office.  Any amount can make a difference to show your appreciation for our wonderful school and teachers.  Thank you!

Kelly Paulus, Annual Fund Chair


Important Upcoming Dates

December 18-19:  Class Christmas Parties (10:30am)

December 22–January 2:  School Closed for Christmas Break

January 5, 2015:  School resumes