September 2015

Letter from the Director

Dear SMCCNS Family:

Welcome to what promises to be a wonderful new school year! As the summer ends I thought I would take the time to write you a letter letting you know what I have been up to and what great expectations I have for our   school for the 2015 -2016 school year. I feel energized and re-charged, ready for a new school year and hope you are, as well.

As well, this summer I took the opportunity to enroll in a graduate level course through the UCLA Extension program. The class is entitled “The Role of Play in Early Childhood Education”.  I learned about the importance of free exploration and child centered activities.  I can report that children experience later school success and higher levels of self- sufficiency and confidence when presented with ample opportunities to make their own decisions early on in life. It was great to learn what I already know- that the program that we offer at SMCCNS is the most developmentally appropriate approach for teaching preschool aged children.  I look forward to working with our staff to provide the best programming for each and every student at our school.

To further my own professional learning, I have really benefitted from my Facebook account as I follow a number of excellent educators and administrators who have shared many ideas, philosophies, and research.  It has been an excellent source of learning for me and I look forward to sharing with staff.  I also follow several blogs on a regular basis and have learned from and been inspired by many writers.    This year you can now follow SMCCNS on Facebook.  Watch for other new additions to our website  as we strive to offer you up to date information about our school.

Each summer, I am excited to finally have the time to read.  I have read both for pleasure and for learning this summer.  As part of my professional reading, I learned a great deal from Todd Whitaker: What Great Teachers Do Differently: 17 things that matter most (2012), What Great Principals Do Differently: 18 Things that matter most (2012). 

With my family, I found time to travel back to Costa Rica where my children attended Spanish and Surf Camp while I got a head start on my online class and professional reading. We had time for travel and family relaxation time, as well. When we returned, it was time to drop our oldest son off at the Webb School where he is a freshman in high school. Our two other sons, Charlie and Ryan will begin their 5th and 6th grade years at the Gooden School in a few days. Summer is coming to a quick close.

Enough about me. . .  I am excited for the coming year.  As a staff we are continuing on our path to becoming a true Professional Learning Community.  Our staff is organized in collaborative teams and each team works to ensure all students find success in their learning.  I am very happy to introduce to you some new members of our teaching staff. We have many of the same faces on staff this year but with some new organization as follows:

In Room 2, we welcome Debbie Keith. Ms. Debbie comes to us from Pacific Oaks where she was a classroom teacher for 15 years. Pacific Oaks shares with us a very child-centered philosophy, and we look forward to all of the experience and knowledge that she brings with her.

Tish Beckman will join Mrs. Chang in Room 3. Ms. Beckman began her journey with SMCCNS as a Mentee of Mrs. Brown’s last year. She was subsequently hired to help out with Sunday School here at SMCC. Ms. Beckman completed her AA degree in Early Childhood with Honors this spring, and will be jumping right back in to begin her next degree this fall. We are so happy that she will continue her journey with us.

Ms. Nicole Costanzo will be helping us to fulfill our wish to begin an Early Drop Off program. Beginning the last week of September, you will be able to sign your child up for an Early Drop Off with Ms. Nicole in our Small Yard. Nicole will also be conducting our Parent and Me class on Tuesdays and Wednesdays, beginning in October.

In Room 6, Mrs. Perth will be reducing her workload to be able to spend more time with her husband and grandchildren. She will be teaching her Tuesday/Thursday class for three year olds, and Mrs. Eaton will be assisting Mrs. Fitzhugh on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.

One of our successes last year was the beginning of looking at our assessment tools.   We tried some things, we tweaked some things and we re-vamped some things.  This year our plan is to continue this important piece but work on identifying the essential outcomes for our youngest students (the Three year olds) and our oldest students (in Mrs. Talbot’s class).  Our staff is dedicated to the success of all students. I know you will continue to offer your support as we work together to meet your child’s needs.  As a staff, we are so fortunate to have such supportive parents in our school!

I am happy to announce that we will be embarking upon a plan to update and enhance the look of our courtyard, beginning with some container gardening outside of the Community Room. We will be making plans to revamp our bench area in the courtyard over the next year or so. We look forward to your cooperation and ideas in making this dream become a reality.

I hope we can see you all on Thursday, September 10th at 4:30 for Pizza and Drumming in the Lower Courtyard in the Nursery School. It is sure to be a very fun evening, with lots of opportunities to meet new friends.

Cheers to a wonderful school year!


Jane Walker, Director

Welcome with Rhythm Child

rhythmchildOn Thursday, September 10th from 4:30-5:30 we will be eating pizza and drumming, and hope you can join us!  This will be a great chance to meet other SMCC Nursery School families!
Our drumming friends from Rhythm Child will be here. To learn more about Rhythm Child, go to


First Day of School Information

The first FULL days of school are September 14th (M/W/F and M-F classes) & September 15th (Tu/Th classes). Please bring your child to school at 9:00 AM and pick him or her up at 12:00 PM.


  1. All paperwork. Please print, fill out and sign.
  2. Clothing: An extra set of clothing (including underwear and socks) is requested for each child (plainly marked with child’s name). It is important for children to wear washable play clothes and rubber-soled shoes (not boots, mary-janes, “Crocs” or open-toed sandals) for Nursery School..
  3. Snapshot: Please bring an informal photograph of your child

The Fall Tuition Statement will be sent home the first week of school.  It will be for the Fall Semester tuition minus your first month’s prepaid tuition.

Picnic Day

picnicblanketMark your calendars! Our first online Picnic Day sign-up will open on Friday, September 25th at 10am.  This sign-up will be for the month of October.  Please remember payment is due by 12 noon the following Tuesday, September 29th.  Should you have any questions, please feel free to contact me.

Debbie Merryman, Picnic Day Chair


We’re looking forward to a nutritious school year! Each SMCC family will participate in our snack program by providing a healthy snack for the whole school twice for each child enrolled. Stay tuned for more information and a Signup Genius invitation at the Fall Coffee. Thank you!

Amanda Tracey, Nutrition Chair

Upcoming Dates


Please plan to attend the Fall Orientation Coffee in Fellowship Hall.  You will receive your school directory, meet other mothers and/or fathers in your child’s class, learn more about school procedures, sign up for nutrition, special holiday cookies, room parent opportunities, meet the Board of Directors and the nursery school director..  Plus, enjoy delicious refreshments and relax!  (Sorry, no child care is provided.)


BOOK FAIR: NOVEMBER 2-4, 2015 – More information to follow in next month’s newsletter