Welcome to


For Parents




For information about class availability for the 2017-2018 school year or to get information about registering for the 2018-2019 school year please call 412-486-5591 or email us at preschool.office@stpaulsumc.com.



The Preschool will be having a space becoming available in January in a 4-year-old morning class.  If you would like more information about this space or would like an application for this space please email to the above email address or call 412-486-5591.  Child must have turned 4 years of age by December 31, 2017.




Wondering if your child is ready for Kindergarten in the fall or just wondering what to expect when your child starts Kindergarten in the fall.  St. Paul's Preschool is holding their annual Kindergarten forum on Thursday, January 4th from 6:30-8:30.  Educators and administrators from Hampton, North Allegheny, North Hills and Shaler school districts will be present to talk a little bit about their Kindergarten programs.  Following their presentation there will be a time for parents to meet with the presenters from their school district to ask questions.  For more information or to sign up to attend please email the Preschool at preschool.office@stpaulsumc.com or call 412-486-5591.


Click here to view or print the Preschool Parent Handbook

Click here to print an Emergency Contact / Parental Consent form

Click here to print a Permanent Record Form

Click her to print Child Health form



The United Way
Did you know that if your employer participates in the United Way Campaign, you can designate the funds you donate to go to St. Paul's Preschool?  Simply obtain a United Way Contributor's Choice form from your employer and specify our preschool's code,
941482, and the monthly or annual amount you wish to contribute.

Preschool Parent Book Exchange:

We have two shelves in our Conference Room dedicated to a parent book exchange!  Please bring any books you have that might be of interest to other parents.  These can be great novels you read or interesting parenting books.  After you donate your book(s), check out the ones on the shelves donated by other parents.  You might find a special "treasure" just waiting for you!  This is a great way to recycle books and share with other



The articles below deal with family traditions, selecting toys for the holidays and how to reduce stress in children during the holidays.

5 Reasons to Make and  Keep Holiday Traditions

By Lisa Appelo

 As soon as the calendar turns to December, my family starts craving Christmas cookies so we

set aside one night when everyone's home to mix, bake, and decorate dozens of sugar cookies. We use the same recipe my mom used when I was growing up and many of the same cookie cutters. I set out colored howls of frosting, sprinkles, and candies and when all the cookies arc frosted, we take the annual picture of our creations.


December is full of these kinds of family traditions. They're part of what make this month so special. Rituals and traditions arc important. They don’t  just mark the time of year; they help form a strong and unique family bond. And while family traditions take a bit of planning, they’re  so worth it. Here are five reasons families should make and keep traditions:

1.    Traditions anchor your family.


When kids change schools or families make a cross-country move, traditions provide continuity. They arc familiar and help root the family. While change can be hard for kids, traditions can be counted on year after year. A friend of mine has moved several times in the last 20 years, and in every house, she's kept true to one favorite tradition-   letting the kids sleep under the tree on

.Christmas Eve. It's one of the things that keeps their family close no matter where they live.

2.   Traditions create a strong family identity.


This is one way to celebrate your family's uniqueness . Maybe your family loves the competition of family Olympics. the silliness of a crazy board game night or an evening of caroling for neighbors . Traditions reflect your family’s personality and help a child know who they arc.

Another family I know keeps a tradition passed down from grandparents. Every Christmas Eve, they open one present: a book specially chosen for each of their three boys. It's a tradition that


suits this book-loving family and will likely be carried on by the boys in their own families one day.

3.   Traditions honor your family's heritage.


Christmas is a great time to reflect customs from your family's heritage. Perhaps your family includes special decorations in the house or special foods on the table. Our family celebrates St. Nicholas Day as part of our Dutch heritage. On December 5th, each child leaves a shoe by the fireplace a11d straw (in our case, pine straw) for the reindeer. In the morning, the pine straw is gone and a small gift is tucked inside each shoe. It's a fun way to remember and celebrate family lineage.

4.   Traditions encourage family time together.


Let's face it: We live in a world of overscheduled families and overstuffed holidays. Traditions help a family purposely set aside blocks of time and evenings to be together. They provide a boundary to the busyness and bring families together for times of fun and meaning. Events like an annual tour of Christmas lights or a yearly gingerbread contest help your family invest time in each other.

5.   Traditions build memories through intentional parenting.


This is probably the best part of family traditions. Helping a child make her own memories is a big deal and traditions become the bedrock of our children's memories. Including family

traditions as part of the holidays means that memories will be about more than shopping and

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 Every Christmas, as I pull out my yellowed sugar cookie recipe and set out cooled cookies for my kids to decorate, I'm taken back to my own childhood where we decorated cookies around our maple table. Because they are memories my kids now have as well, this tradition will probably continue when my kids have their own families.


What special holiday traditions does your family have or what new traditions would you like to start this year?



Good Toys for Young Children


NAEYC offers the following information on selecting the safest and most appropriate toys for young children.


Safe toys for young children are:


•          well-made (with no shared parts or splinters and do not pinch)

•          painted with  nontoxic lead-free paint

•          shatter-proof

•          easily cleaned


Electric toys should be "UL Approved." Be sure to check the label, which should indicate the toy has been approved by the Underwriters Laboratories. In addition, when choosing toys for children under age 3, make sure there are no small parts or pieces that could become lodged in a child's throat and cause suffocation.


It is important to remember that typical wear and tear can result in a once-safe toy becoming hazardous. Adults  should check toys frequently to make sure they are in good repair.


For a list of toys that have been recalled by manufacturers, visit the Toy Hazard Recalls page of the Consumer Product Safety Commission Website.


For information on lead poisoning, you can obtain a free brochure from the American Academy of Pediatrics.



Good Toys and Activities for Young Children

In addition to being safe, toys for young children need to match their stages of development and emerging abilities. Many safe and appropriate play materials are free items typically found at home. Cardboard boxes, plastic bowls and  lids, collections of plastic bottle caps, and other

"treasures" can be used in more than one way by children of different ages. As you read the following lists of suggested toys for children of different ages, keep in mind that each child develops at an individual pace. Items on one list - as long as they are safe - can be good choices for children who are younger and older than the suggested age range.


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Toys for Young Infants - Birth through 6 Months


Babies like to look at people - following them with their eyes. Typically, they prefer faces and bright  colors. Babies can reach, be fascinated with what their hands and feet can do, lift their heads, turn their heads toward sounds, put things in their mouths, and much more!


Good toys for young infants:


•          Things they can reach for, hold, suck on, shake, make noise with - rattles, large rings, squeeze toys, teething toys, soft dolls, textured balls, and vinyl and board  books

•          Things to listen to - books with nursery rhymes and poems, and recordings of lullabies and simple  songs

•          Things to look at - pictures of faces hung so baby can see them and unbreakable mirrors


Toys for Older Infants - 7 to 12 Months


Older babies are movers - typically they go from rolling over and sitting to scooting, bouncing, creeping, pulling themselves up, and standing. They understand their own names and other common words, can identify body parts, find hidden objects, and put things in and out of containers.


Good toys for older infants:


•          Things to play pretend with -  baby dolls, puppets, plastic and wood vehicles with wheels, and water toys

•          Things to drop and take out - plastic bowls, large beads, balls, and nesting toys

•          Things to build with - large soft blocks and wooden cubes

•          Things to use their large muscles with - large balls, push and pull toys, and low, soft things to crawl over


Toys for 1- year-olds


One-year-olds are on the go! Typically they can walk steadily and even climb stairs. They enjoy stories, say their first words, and can play next to other children (but not yet with!). They like to experiment - but need adults to keep them safe.


Good toys for 1-year-olds:


•          Board books with simple illustrations or photographs of real objects

•          Recordings  with songs, rhymes simple stories, and pictures

•          Things to create  with wide non-toxic,  washable markers, crayons and large paper

•          Things to pretend with - toy phones, dolls and doll beds, baby carriages and strollers, dress-up accessories (scarves, purses), puppets, stuffed toys, plastic animals, and plastic and wood "realistic" vehicles

•          Things to build with - cardboard and wood blocks (can be smaller than those used by infants - 2 to 4 inches)

•          Things for using their large and small muscles - puzzles, large pegboards, toys with parts that do things (dials, switches, knobs lids), and large and small balls


Toys for 2- year-olds (Toddlers)


Toddlers are rapidly learning language and have some sense of danger. Nevertheless they do a lot of physical "testing" : jumping from heights, climbing, hanging by their arms, rolling, and rough-and-tumble play. They have good control of their hands and fingers and like to do things with small objects.


Good toys for 2-year-olds:


•          Things for solving problems - wood puzzles (with 4 to 12 pieces), blocks that snap together, objects to sort (by size, shape, color, smell)  and things with  hooks, buttons buckles, and snaps

•          Things for pretending and building - blocks, smaller (and sturdy) transportation toys, construction sets, child-sized furniture (kitchen sets, chairs, play food), dress-up clothes, dolls with accessories, puppets, and sand and water play toys

•          Things to create with - large, non-toxic, washable crayons and markers, large paintbrushes and fingerpaint, large paper for drawing and painting, colored construction paper, toddler-sized scissors with blunt tips, chalkboard  and large chalk and rhythm instruments

•          Picture books with more details than books for young children

•          CD and DVD players with a variety of music (of course, phonograph players and cassette recorders work too!)


•          Things for using their large and small muscles - large and small balls for kicking and throwing, ride-on equipment (but probably not tricycles until children are 3), tunnels, low climbers with soft material underneath, and pounding and hammering toys


Toys for 3- to 6-year-olds (Preschool and Kindergartners)

Preschoolers and kindergartners have longer attention spans than toddlers. Typically they talk a lot and ask a lot of questions. They like to experiment  with things  and with their still-emerging physical

skills. They like to play with friends - and don't like to lose! They can take turns - and sharing one toy by two or more children is often possible for older preschoolers and kindergartners.


Good toys for 3- to 6-year-olds:


•          Things for solving problems - puzzles (with 12 to 20+ pieces), blocks that snap together, collections and other smaller objects to sort by length, width, height, shape, color, smell, quantity, and other features - collections  of plastic bottle caps, plastic bowls and lids, keys, shells, counting bears,  small colored blocks

•          Things for pretending and building - many blocks for building complex structures, transportation toys, construction sets, child-sized furniture ("apartment" sets, play food), dress-up clothes, dolls with accessories, puppets and simple puppet theaters, and sand and water play toys

•          Things to create with - large and small crayons and markers, large and small paintbrushes and fingerpaint, large and small paper for drawing and painting, colored construction paper, preschooler-sized scissors, chalkboard and large and small chalk, modeling clay and playdough, modeling tools, paste, paper  and  cloth scraps for collage, and instruments - rhythm instruments and keyboards, xylophones, maracas, and tambourines

•           Picture books with even more words and more detailed pictures than toddler books

•          CD and DVD players with a variety of music (of course, phonograph players and cassette recorders work too!)

•          Things for using their large and small muscles - large and small balls for kicking and throwing/catching, ride-on equipment including tricycles, tunnels, taller climbers with soft material underneath, wagons and wheelbarrows, plastic bats and balls, plastic bowling pins, targets and things to throw at them, and a workbench with a vise, hammer, nails, and saw

•          If a child has access to a computer: programs that are interactive (the child can do something) and that children can understand (the software uses graphics and spoken instruction, not just print), children can control the software's pace and path, and children have opportunities to explore a variety of concepts on several levels





How to Prevent Holiday Stress and


Anxiety in Children

B Katherine Lee


The holidays are a fun and joyous time but also a very busy one, and holiday stress and anxiety in children can and does happen. During the holidays, there are lots of fun activities and events going on, both at home and at school. And while that can be a good thing, the reality is that all that hustle and bustle means schedules are often out of whack, bedtimes get pushed back, and routines are disrupted.


As a result, it's inevitable that kids may feel some degree of holiday stress.


Set a Calm Example


The most important way parents can help ease anxiety in children during the holidays is by trying to keep things relaxed as much as possible. As with so many situations, the way parents handle an issue can set the tone for how their kids will behave. If you let holiday stress get to you, your kids will definitely pick up on it, and child anxiety is more likely to be a problem in your house. To minimize anxiety in children during the holidays, take steps to handle your own stress and anxiety.

Set Up Conditions for Good Behavior


Avoid taking your child to places such as the mall or holiday gatherings when he is hungry or tired. It's hard even for grown-ups to deal with noise and lots of stimulation


when they' re not feeling their best; kids get hungry more often and become tired more

easily, and may understandably have a tough time being on their best behavior and are more likely to experience holiday stress when they're exhausted or hungry.

Remember the Importance of Routines


The holidays can throw a big wrench into household routines, and that can play a role in anxiety in children. To minimize holiday stress in your kids, try to get routines back on track once an event or party is over. For instance, if a school holiday concert or a church


gathering goes past your child's bedtime, try to stick to quiet, calm activities the next day and get your child to bed on time the next night.

Watch What They Are Eating


Another thing that can fall by the wayside amidst the holiday hubbub is healthy eating. Between all the extra sugary holiday snacks and the lack of time to sit down to regular meals, it can be all too easy for kids to eat less healthy foods, which can contribute to holiday stress and anxiety in children. Try packing healthy snacks when you have to go shopping or run other holiday errands and try to minimize the number of sweet treats at home. Whenever possible, offer healthy snacks, such as air-popped popcorn or apple slices with cheese and crackers and limit cookies and candy to after-snack treats.

Get Your Child Moving


Fresh air and exercise are essential for boosting mood and re-setting the spirit, which can alleviate holiday stress and anxiety in children. Make sure you schedule some time to get your child outside to run around and play.

Avoid Overscheduling


As tempting as it may be to accept every invitation from friends and family, try to limit your holiday parties and activities so that you and your child are not overwhelmed. A couple of events a week may be fine, but having an obligation every day can lead to holiday stress and anxiety in children.

Have Your Grade-Schooler Help You



 Big kids love to help mom and dad, especially if they get lots of praise for being


responsible and helpful.                                                                          •


If you have to shop, ask your child to help you look for an item at the store (fun stocking stuffers for cousins, for example). Giving your child a task will not only boost her self­ esteem, it'll distract her and help prevent any holiday stress and anxiety.

Schedule Some Quiet Time


Having some peace and quiet with your child is more important than ever during the busy holiday season. Find a quiet comer and read a book with your child or create holiday


pictures for grandma and grandpa. Take a walk outside in nature, away from noise and crowds and obligations.


Remind Your Child and Yourself What the Holidays Are Really All About


A great antidote for holiday stress and the bloated commercialism of the season is helping others, whether it's by shoveling an elderly neighbor's sidewalk or by wrapping presents for needy kids at your local church.


Please visit our calendar section for special events planned for December




You will need:

Foil cake pans

Things from nature in all different colors - flowers, berries, pine boughs,  plant leaves etc.

Fruits - lemons, orange, blueberries, raspberries.

Food coloring


Place your nature items and fruits in the foil cake pans according to like colors.  Mix food coloring with water and place in like colored foil cake pans.

Bring your pans outside to freeze if it is cold enough or freeze in freezer.

Once frozen tuck string inside the tin around the circumference of the ice and pour water into the tin again and freeze to secure string for hanging.

Once frozen for the second time remove from tin and hang on tree branches outside.


You will need:

Craft sticks


Puzzle Pieces

Blue paint

Paint Brush

Blue Glitter



To begin glue to craft sticks together so the middle of the sticks intersect

Next repeat the above step with the next two craft sticks.

Then glue the sticks to make a snowflake

After the glue dries on the sticks, glue the puzzle pieces over the craft sticks.

When the  glue for the puzzle pieces is dry paint the pieces with the blue paint.

Once the paint dries you're ready for the glitter

Mix glitter with some glue and paint the glue onto the snowflakes.

Once the glue-glitter dries cut a ribbon and glue to top of the snowflakes.

(If you do not want to use glitter, you can place small gemstones on the puzzle pieces instead),

SNOWBALL DROP ( small motor game)

You will need:

Cotton balls

Empty container to drop snowballs into

Kid friendly tweezers, chopsticks or tongs

Pull all of the cotton balls apart and squish them back together to be balls.

Scatter the cotton balls around the room.

Using the tweezers, chopsticks or tongs pick up the snowballs and place in container.

To make it more of a challenge for older children place mittens on their hands.


You will need:

Felt pens (waterbase)

Flat meat trays

Hole punch

White glue

Fishing line

With the felt markers make designs on the meat trays

Pour enough glue on tray to cover design

Let dry overnight

Once dry peel off edges and let dry another day.

Peel of tray completely.

You can cut a design out of dried and peeled glue.

Punch a hole in dried glue.  Hang by fishing line.



In the office at both the McKnight Center and Ferguson Center we have a list of commonly available snacks that are free of peanuts, tree nuts and eggs.  We invite you to stop in and take a look at this list.  You can also access the list by going to: http://snacksafety.com/snackguide.


                                   SNACK IDEAS


Some parents have asked for suggestions on what type of snacks to bring for their child's snack day.  Here is a list of some simple snack ideas. 

Trail Mix - a mixture of whole-grain cereal, dried fruits, sunflower seeds and dried coconut flakes.  You can also add in raisins, cranberries and pretzels.

Small box of raisins

Fruit - please remember that grapes if served MUST be cut in half.  Bananas, apple slices, berries are all good choices.

Mini bagels with cream cheese.

String cheese

Yogurt tubes


Whole wheat pretzels and crackers



You will need:

4 thin slices salami

4 chunks pineapple

4 large bite size cubes cheddar or other hard cheese

4 toothpicks

Fold a slice of salami in half, then half again, and thread onto a toothpick, followed by a chunk of pineapple, then a chunk of cheddar.

Repeat to make 4 sticks


You will need:

Mott's Applesauce Snack and Go pouches

Line a cookie sheet with wax paper

Remove the lid from an applesauce pouch and begin squeezing bites size drops of applesauce on the wax paper

Put the cookie sheet into the freezer into and leave for a few hours

Once they have completely frozen, quickly remove them from the wax paper and store in freezer bag in freezer


You will need:

Whole wheat tortillas


Pizza sauce

Toppings - pepperoni, red peppers, mushrooms, etc

Muffin tin

Circle cookie cutter

Using a large round cookie cutter, cut out circles from the tortillas to fix into the muffin tin

Press into the muffin tin

Place a small amount of pizza sauce over the tortilla cut-out followed by cheese and any toppings

Bake in a 350 degree oven for 15 minutes.  During the last 3 minutes turn oven up to 450.

Once done remove from muffin tin


You will need:


Spreadable cheese like Laughing Cow Cheese or cream cheese

Slices of cheddar cheese

Slices of deli meat

Circles of toasted bread

Slices of tomato

Cut cucumber into round slices

Put cheese, deli meat and anything else your child would usually have on a sandwich

Top with other cucumber slice


You will need:

1 very ripe banana, mashed (about 1/3 cup)

1/2 cup rolled oats

1/4 cup raisins

Preheat oven to 350 degrees

Combine all ingredients and stir until well-mixed

Place rounded tablespoons of dough on an ungreased cookie sheet.  Bake for 12-15 minutes, until brown.

Cool for 5 minutes on the pan then remove to a wire rack to cool completely


You will need:

1 tube pizza crust

40 pepperoni slices

10 mozzarella cheese sticks

2 tablespoons melted butter

1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

1/2 teaspoon dried parsley

Marinara sauce

Preheat oven to 450 degrees

Spread pizza dough out on a lightly greased baking sheet.  Cut the dough into 10 equal size rectangles.

Arrange 4 pepperoni slices on each rectangle and top with mozzarella cheese stick

Roll up the pizza dough, enclosing the cheese stick, pinching the seams closed.

To the melted butter add the garlic powder and dried parsley.  Brush the pizza sticks with the butter.

Bake 10 to 12 minutes or until golden brown.

Enjoy with the marinara sauce.



Snowbots - Aaron Reynolds

Snow Party - Harriet Ziefert

Holly's Red Boots - Francesca Chessa

The Biggest Snowman Ever - Steven Kroll

The Mitten - Jan Brett

The Jacket I Wear in the Snow - Shirley Neitzel

Sneezy the Snowman - Maureen Wright

The Twelve Days of Winter - Deborah Leee Rose


Dear St. Paul's Preschool Families I would like to welcome you and your child to St. Paul's Preschool.  This 2015-2016 school year marks our 44th year as an early childhood educational center.  I have been a part of this program for the past twenty-one years, first as a classroom teacher (15 year) and most recently as the director (seven years).

It is important for you to know that we view you as your child's first and most important teacher!  We want to work in partnership with you as we share information about your child and make decisions together about your child's care.  This helps us be able to provide consistent care between home and school, resulting in your child feeling comfortable, safe and respected within our facility.  Good working relationships with families enable the teaching staff to be more responsive to each child's needs.

Our program philosophy clearly states that "parents are an integral part of our program.  Their input and information about their child is continually sought and valued.  Parents are involved in every part of the St. Paul's program."

We ask that you walk your child into the classroom each day because the teaching staff and I enjoy sharing information and saying hello to you.  Each class will have an area displaying your child's work.  Please visit this area often with your child!  At eh end of each day, a staff member will give you a summary of what has happened during the day so we encourage parents to arrive at least five minutes before dismissal time.  If you are a working parent and cannot pick your child up after class, a detailed and personal email will be sent to you by the teacher after class enabling you to receive the same information about your child's preschool day.

There are many ways to become a part of the program.  Here are a few:

*Become a member of the Parent of Preschoolers (a parent group which meets once per month in the evening)

* Become involved in our annual fund raiser, the Santa Express (Many activities to prepare for this major event can be done at home)

*Become a classroom volunteer (party parent, library parent, classroom helper, equipment and repair helper and/or field trip chaperone)  These positions are detailed in your Parent Handbook found on our website: www.stpaulspreschoolumc.org

*Attend an Open House evening event during the year

*Attend a Family Sing-a-Long event during the year

*Record "books on tape" for our classroom listening centers. (This can be done at home)

*Share your family's culture with the class (special foods can be sent for snack time, special games, songs and dances can be taught, and special ceremonies or traditions can be explained)

Volunteering in the preschool is so important for your child.  Your involvement early in your child's life sets him/her on course to succeed academically because you are showing that you value education.  Staying connected to the school can give parents ideas of how to expand what their child learns in school.

Being involved with St. Paul's Preschool also helps parents connect to other people.  You will be able to make new acquaintances, get to know friends better and help your own self-confidence increase.

Volunteer sign up sheets will be given out at the Parent Orientation meeting in August.

Please remember that St. Paul's Preschool has an Open Door policy.  Parents and family members are welcome to visit at any time during the school day.  We encourage you to contact the office (412-486-5591/preschool.office@stpaulsumc.com) or your child's classroom teacher to set up a time if you would like to spend the day with us!

Together we can provide the very best learning and growing environment for your child!


I'm looking forward to knowing you and your child this year!

Laurel Webster

Laurel Webster, St. Paul's Preschool Director



Accredited by the National Association for the Education of Young Children