Preschool News for February 2017

Greetings from the Preschool! It’s hard to believe but registration for the 2017/2018 school is under way. Please continue to keep our school in your prayers as we prepare to welcome new students and families to Zion.  We continue to experience the blessings growth at Zion.  We are adding an afternoon Stepping Stones class for next year, in addition to our afternoon Preschool and PreKindergartn class.  What a tremendous opportunity we have to preach the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ to small children. “Let the little children come to me and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these.  I tell you the truth, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.” Luke 18:16-17

 Current school families can register now with open registration starting February 6th.  Registration information can be found in the school lobby at the workstation, or it can be found on our website.  If you know anyone interested in our school, please have them call the office and ask for me.  I’m scheduling tours now.

 Each February our school focuses on Jesus’ love for us.  As a way for us to show love to others, our school has again teamed up with the Sunday School participating in a mission project that troops overseas through the non-profit organization Operation: Bags of Love.   We are collecting items that are desperately needed, and appreciated, by our troops and their families.  We have been collecting cereal bars, beef jerky and chewing gum.  Hopefully between the school and the church we will have plenty of items or “Bags of Love” to send to our troops.

The teachers are also busy conducting PreKindergarten evaluations.  Before children enter Kindergarten we test them on specific skills that are needed for Kindergarten.  We then hold conferences with their parents and review the test results. It is our goal to give the parents as much information as possible before having to make the decision to send to Kindergarten, or to put them into a class like our Stepping Stones class.

As always, we welcome you to come down to the school and see what is going on.  There’s always something new and exciting.  We would love to see you!

Blessings,

Tracey Harris

Preschool News for January 2017

Believe it, or not, December has come and gone and what a whirlwind of a month it was! We had two Christmas programs, two Christmas shopping days, Chapel and countless classroom Christmas parties. And did I mention….ugly sweater week? I’ve never see so many “beautiful” sweaters in one place…ones that jingled, sparkled and yes, even twinkled, and that was just the staff!

Our Christmas programs were a huge success again this year. We started the program with a Christmas video detailing the events in Luke 2. We waited to process the children down the aisle until after the video. With over 400 people over the course of two nights, and for some the only time they would spend in church during the Christmas season, we wanted to make an impact ….and boy did we ever. The children entered the church and the joyous singing commenced. It was awesome!!

We’ll start the new year getting the children back into a routine which can sometimes be difficult after a long break. We will look forward to visits from the zoo, continuing the Christmas story and lots of winter time fun.

Registration for the 2017/2018 school year (yikes) will start at the end of January. We will be adding an afternoon Stepping Stones class on Monday/Tuesday/Thursday, in addition to our afternoon PreKindergarten and Preschool. That is the last class that we can add to our school…we will be officially “out of space” in both the morning and afternoon….GOD IS GOOD! Please continue to pray that God will continue to guide families to our school and that we can continue our level of excellence both academically and spiritually.

Happy New Year!
Blessings,
Tracey

Preschool News for December 2016

Greetings from the Preschool! We have been busy little Pilgrims and Indians. As we usually do in November, we asked the children to bring in food items for the Bridgeville food bank. We explained that the food bank is where people who don’t have enough money to buy food can go and get food. Wow….the children were certainly up to the challenge. We were able to send bags and bags of food to help those less fortunate. It made the children feel good to know that they were helping little children and their families. Children truly are amazing in their capability to understand real topics when presented in a way that relates to them.

We had our first Chick-fil-A spirit night…..what a blast! So many of our families came out to support our school and fun was had by all. The children love seeing their teachers outside of the school. I think many of the kids think that we live at the school. Their little eyes light up is disbelief that we enjoy some of the same things that they do….like eating at Chick-fil-A. Chick-fil-A donates 15% of total sales back to the school. We love to support this wonderful Christian business and they support us back.

We also put Vicar Joshua to work this month. He did a fabulous job teaching the Chapel lesson. He taught the children the story of the 10 men whom Jesus healed and how only one said thank you. He had the children totally engaged and acting out the story with him…what an awesome sight! He then asked the children what they were thankful for and prayed with them. Great job Vicar Josh!

December will be filled with lots of fun Christmas activities. In addition to our Christmas parties, kids praise, Chapel, Lunch Bunch Moms Morning Out and our Christmas programs, we will host two “Shopping days”. This is a time when parents can leave their children at school until 2:00 (with pizza, games and a movie, I might add) while their moms and dads have some shopping time “kid free”. I’m sure it doesn’t come as a surprise that this is very popular! The best part is that the kids love to stay at school longer with their wonderful teachers.

Our Christmas program will be on two days again this year due to the number of students and their families who attend. We would love for you to come and enjoy a night of beautiful Christmas music sung by our preschool children. What a joy it is to hear the good news of Jesus’ birth through the voices of these little children. The program dates are Monday December 5thh and Tuesday December 6th. Hope to see you there.

Blessings,
Tracey Harris
Director

November 2016 Preschool News

Greetings from the Preschool!  We have been very busy this month…and when I say busy, I mean both the students and the staff.  We have nearly 150 students this year and a waiting list to boot! God has again blessed us with an abundance of little children to share the good news of Jesus Christ.

Fall is an awesome time of year at the school.  It’s filled with field trips to pumpkin patches, the trolley museum and visits from Firefighter Phil and a Dental hygienist, and even made our own toothpaste … minty fresh! Take a walk down the hallway and notice the artwork hanging on the walls and from the ceiling, it’s our own little art gallery and it’s beautiful.  Did I mention that we were busy?

We have also been learning about creation this month and how God created the world in 6 days and rested on day seven. Each classroom has been “creating” a bulletin board adding different items for each day of creation. At the end of each creation day the children look at the bulletin board and say “it is good!”  We also had our first chapel lesson of the year, “The Parable of the pumpkin”.  To convey the Gospel message in a visual way and in keeping the fall season, we use two carved pumpkins.  The pumpkins presented to the children are side by side, one smiling with a candle lit inside, representing life with Jesus, and the other frowning and dark inside, representing life without Jesus.  The lesson differentiates a life with Jesus, contrasted to what it is like to live without Jesus. I tell the chil-dren that Jesus is the Light of the World, and that He can provide a light to guide their lives if they love Him with their whole heart.  “For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” made His light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ.” 2 Corinthians 4:6.

On behalf of the staff, and myself, “Thank You” for helping us with many of the items on our “Wish List”.  With the size of our school, we have many needs that come up, and not always the means to achieve them.  Your kindness and generosity is greatly appreciated.  Thank you again.

Blessings,
Tracey

May 2016 Preschool News!

Well….it’s hard to believe…but the year is coming to a close, but not before we fill our month with lots of activities and excitement, and field trips!

Our Small Steps classes will be going to Simmons Farm. The Preschool classes will go to the Spring House, an actual working farm! I’m not sure if we keep going back for the “farm experience” or the awesome cookies and super creamy chocolate milk that they are known for. Either way…it’s a great field trip! It’s off to Bedners Greenhouse and Farm for the PreK kids and our Stepping Stones class will take a tour of PNC Park. What an exciting way to see the Pirates home field up and close. The kids have been talking about it all month…go Pirates!

We will end our year with our closing programs on Tuesday the 24th and Wednesday the 25th. They will include several songs that we love to sing during Kid’s Praise and a slide show including pictures from the entire school year. They will be held during class time on both days. The Kona Shaved Ice truck will be in the parking lot after the programs for a delicious cool treat. The kids and their families will actually be able to choose from 10 different flavors to pour over their ice, all while enjoying some great beach music …are we crazy good, or what?! The kids can’t wait!

After our year has “officially” ended, we will hold our highly anticipated summer camps for three weeks. This year we will have 9 camps including Dirt Camp, Baking Camp, Let go camping, Book Camp, Under the Sea Camp, Fables and Fairy Tales Camp, Fun and Games Camp, Science Camp and Beach Camp. Whew….that’s a lot of fun-filled camps. Vacation Bible School follows our last camp and is equally anticipated by our preschool families. What a tremendous opportunity Zion has to spread the “good news” to so many little ears

Enrollment is currently at 141. I anticipate more registrations (although I can only take 7 more children…all Small Steps kiddos) and then we will be totally maxed out! Please keep us in your prayers that we can continue to maintain our level of excellence and order as our school continues to grow.

Have a great summer and see you in September!
Blessings,
Tracey Harris

April 2016 Preschool News

Happy April! Take a look in our classrooms and you will see all the new signs of Spring. The children have been very busy learning all about the changes that Spring brings…budding trees, new growth in the ground, how a caterpillar can turn into a butterfly and of course the death and resurrection of Jesus.

April will be a very busy month. On April 6th and 7th we will be hosting our annual Dads, Dudes and Donuts breakfast. This is a time when dads can come to school with their child and enjoy donuts, fruit and beverages and lots of fellowship time with the teachers, fellow dads and the children. We decorate with a “Black and Gold” theme and everybody wears their favorite Pittsburgh teams’ apparel. Its great fun and such a blessing to see how excited the dads are to participate in their child’s school activity, and how they continue to support our school.

We will also enjoy a visit from the Carnegie Science Center where the three year olds will learn all about wig-gly worms, and the 4 year olds will learn about robots…how exciting! We will also take various field trips to PNC Park, the Springhouse and Bedner’s Farm…never a dull moment here at Zion.

Registration continues to go very well. We currently have 136 students enrolled for the next school year. We anticipate our largest year yet…please keep us in your prayers.

Have you noticed any new faces in church lately? Two of our preschool staff members, Kara Garubba and Kellie Stock and their families have been regularly worshiping with us lately. Please be sure to say hello and welcome them to our family! Both of their children have been actively participating in our youth activities as well…and loving it! What a tremendous opportunity we have to continue to spread the good news of Jesus Christ…Amen!

Blessings,
Tracey Harris

Greetings from Preschool!

It’s hard to believe but registration for the 2015/2016 school is under way. Please continue to keep our school in your prayers as we prepare to welcome new students and families to Zion. We continue to experience the blessings growth at Zion. We are adding an afternoon PreKindergarten class for next year, in addition to our afternoon preschool class. What a tremendous opportunity we have to preach the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ to small children. “Let the little children come to me and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. I tell you the truth, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.” Luke 18:16-17 

Current school families can register now with open registration starting February 1st. Registration information can be found in the school lobby at the workstation, or it can be found on our website. If you know anyone interested in our school, please have them call the office and ask for me. I’m scheduling tours now. 

Every January we celebrate Lutheran School Week. We started the week with a visit from the Pittsburgh zoo…they left the polar bears and penguins at the zoo, but brought some cute, (and some not so cute), animals for us to pet and learn about. We got to see and pet a chinchilla named mouse, a super cute and furry rabbit, named Roscoe, Maize the corn snake and a bearded dragon! The rest of Lutheran Schools Week involved PJ day . backwards day and Beach day. There are over 1,250 Early Childhood Centers included among the grade schools, colleges, and seminaries. We are blessed to have the opportunity to share the gospel message to so many children and their families. 

Each February our school focuses on Jesus’ love for us. As a way for us to show love to others, our school has again teamed up with the Sunday School participating in a mission project that reaches out to the local community and beyond. This February we will be supporting our troops overseas through the non-profit organization Operation: Bags of Love. We are collecting items that are desperately needed, and appreciated, by our troops and their families. We have been collecting cereal bars, beef jerky and chewing gum. Hopefully between the school and the church we will have plenty of items or “Bags of Love” to send to our troops. 

The teachers are also busy conducting PreKindergarten evaluations. Before children enter Kindergarten we test them on specific skills that are needed for Kindergarten. We then hold conferences with their parents and review the test results. It is our goal to give the parents as much information as possible before having to make the decision to send to Kindergarten, or to put them into a class like our Stepping Stones class. 

As always, we welcome you to come down to the school and see what is going on. There’s always something new and exciting. We would love to see you! 

Blessings, 
Tracey Harris

Preschool News

December was a very busy month for us. We had two Christmas Programs, two Christmas shopping days (which is an extra- long lunch bunch) with pizza and a movie, Chapel , a scavenger hunt looking for Christmas symbols and class Christmas parties! Whew….I’m still tired! I hope some of you had a chance to see our Christ-mas Programs….the children did an amazing job lifting their little voices up to God. Their favorite song was “Go Tell it on the Mountain” and their voices weren’t so “little” as they blasted out those words. Feliz Navi-dad….Prospero ano y felicidad! How about that? Our oldest students sang this classic in Spanish…and added a little dancing too…what a blast! 

I think one of my favorite aspects of this job is hearing the parents feedback to what we are doing here at Zion. The last week of school before Christmas break is so busy…all the parties and activities, cookies and candy… it’s kind of crazy. The great thing about it is that so many parents are here to help with all of these festivities. One mom came up to me to tell me what her daughter had said to her. They were discussing what kind of pies to make for Christmas day. Her daughter said “Why are we having pie, we need to have cake…a birthday cake.” Mom’s reply was “It’s not your birthday” to which she quickly replied “no, mom, it’s Jesus’ birthday!” She then told her mom all she had learned about the birth of Jesus in school. Mom was so impressed that a 4 year old was able to put “the whole thing together” to quote mom. Mom also told me that this will now be a part of their family’s new tradition. God clearly is at work here! 

We’ll start the new year getting the children back into a routine which can sometimes be difficult after a long break. During Chapel we will continue with the Christmas story as we learn about Epiphany (visit from the Magi, or the Wisemen). We’re also looking forward to visits from the Zoo and celebrating Lutheran School Week during the last week of January. Lutheran Schools Week will include PJ day (which the staff loves) Beach day, Crazy Sock day and lots of fun-filled activities to go along with these themes. 

Crazy as it sounds, we will start registration for the 2016/2017 school year at the end of the month. Our current enrollment is 140, our biggest so far, and we anticipate a similar enrollment for next year. With classroom sizes increasing, we now face the issue of not having enough room for all who want to attend. We have been so blessed at Zion so please pray that God will continue to guide families to our school, and that as a school we can accommodate all of the “little” souls who walk through our doors. It is an honor to be a part of these children’s lives and to be able to teach them the good news of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, and to watch them “teach” their families. AMEN! 

Tracey Harris 

Director

Notes from Preschool

“Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good. The Lord has truly been good to our school. We have been blessed with beautiful children, supportive and loving families, and a wonderful staff. 

October has been a month full of excitement and exploration. The children explored so many of God’s creations including October’s most popular creation (at least, according to the children) the PUMPKIN!! I had the pleasure of presenting the chapel lesson this month with the children. The lesson was called “The Parable of the Pumpkin” I wanted to convey the Gospel message in a visual way, so we used pumpkins. Two carved pumpkins were presented side by side to the children. One has a smiling face and a lit candle inside, emitting a pleasant and warm glow. The other frowning pumpkin is dark inside. The children were asked which pumpkin they would rather be. “The happy one” they shouted! The children are told that Jesus is the Light of the World, and that He can pro-vide a light to guide their lives if they love Him with their whole heart. When the children saw the sad and dark pumpkin I explained that life without Jesus would be dark and sad. The children were then asked how they think the “light” got inside of the pumpkin since the top was not cut. After guessing many interesting ways, I turned the pumpkin around and pulled out a heart shape, carved in the back of the pumpkin. The children are told that if they faith-fully love Jesus with their hearts, souls and minds He will always be with them. 

October was also filled with field trips to local pumpkin farms, the Trolley Museum, picture days, and Fall Harvest parties. What a pleasure it is to hear all of those happy voices each day. 

The date for this year’s first Ice Cream Social and Preschool Art Show & Bake Sale is Friday, November 6th. The Ice Cream Sundae’s will include all types of candy and cookie sprinkles and yummy toppings with whipped cream. This fundraiser is a great opportunity for the school families to enjoy a fun evening together, for the benefit of the Early Childhood Pro-gram. 

The Ice Cream Social is replacing the Spaghetti Dinner for this year, or until we can figure out how to serve that many students and their families our delicious spaghetti with the current kitchen, and limited space. With 140 students, we are actually outgrowing the fellowship hall (undercroft). This is good challenge to have, but still a challenge. 

Blessings, 
racey Harris

May News from Preschool

News from Preschool
Well….it’s hard to believe…but the year is coming to a close, but not before we fill our month with lots of activities and excitement, and field trips!

Our Small Steps classes will be going to Reilly’s Strawberry Farm. They will learn how a strawberry grows and even come home with a plant that they can put into their own garden. Who knows….maybe they will grow enough strawberries to make a pie! The Preschool classes will go to the Spring House, an actual working farm. It’s off to the Trolly Museum for the PreK kids and our Stepping Stones class will take a tour of PNC Park. What an exciting way to see the Pirates home field up and close. The kids have been talking about it all month…go Pirates!

We will end our year with our closing programs on Tuesday the 19th and Wednesday the 20th. They will include several songs that we love to sing during Kid’s Praise and a slide show including pictures from the entire school year. They will be held during class time on both days. New this year….. the Kona Shaved Ice truck will be in the parking lot after the programs for a delicious cool treat. The kids and their families will actually be able to choose from 10 different flavors to pour over their ice, all while enjoying some great beach music …are we crazy good, or what?! I think the kids will love it!

After our year has “officially” ended, we will hold summer camps for three weeks. This year we will have 10 camps, as opposed to four last year. In addition to Dirt Camp, Beach Camp, Fun and Games Camp and Book Camp, we added Exercise Camp, Under the Sea Camp, Nursery Rhymes Camp, Science Camp, Bible Stories Camp and Holiday Camp. So far 5 of the camps are completely full, and the others are filling up quickly. Our camps are always very well attended and much anticipated. Vacation Bible School follows our last camp and is equally anticipated by our preschool families. What a tremendous opportunity Zion has to spread the “good news” to so many little ears!

Enrollment is currently at 119. I anticipate more registrations during the summer months, so please keep us in your prayers that we can continue to maintain our level of excellence and order as our school continues to grow.

See you in September!

Blessings,
Tracey Harris

April Notes from Preschool

April Notes from Preschool
Happy April! I think Spring is finally here… just take a look in our classrooms and you will be convinced too. The children have been very busy learning all about the changes that Spring brings…budding trees, new growth in the ground, how a caterpillar can turn into a butterfly and of course the death and resurrection of Jesus.

April continues to be exciting and busy. On April 15t and 16nd we will be hosting our annual Moms and Muffins breakfast. This is a time when moms can come to school with their child and enjoy muffins, fruit and beverages and lots of fellowship time with other moms, staff, and the children. We decorate with a Spring theme including flowers that the children planted in February!

We also spent a lot of time learning about the Easter story. I have the pleasure of teaching the chapel lesson this month, and honestly, it is my favorite lesson to teach. I use a set of plastic Easter eggs, each filled with an item that helps tell the story. The children are so excited to see what is in each egg, but will not understand why the last egg is empty, at least, not at first. “Mrs. Tracey….did you forgot to put something in the last egg?” This is what I usually hear when I open the last empty egg. I then explain that the last egg represents the empty tomb on Easter morning…Jesus is alive!!

Registration continues to go very well. We currently have 119 students enrolled for the next school year.

How awesome it is to have the opportunity to teach so many children about the good news of Jesus!

Have a wonderful Easter!

Blessings,
Tracey Harris

March Notes from Preschool

School News!
Happy March! Has anyone seen Spring? This is what we will be asking our Preschool children this month. Hopefully we will all start to see signs of Spring soon as this winter just does not want to end! The children are ready to go outside and play on the playground and let the warm sun hit their little faces. We even pray at the end of Kids Praise for good weather to come soon!

March is also the month that we focus on the color green…may all of the green remind us that Spring is coming! We also talk about St. Patrick’s Day. We explain that the shamrock, a plant with three parts to its leaf, like a 3 leaf clover, is like the Trinity. Even though the leaf has three parts, it is still one leaf, as the Father, Son and Holy Spirit are three in one God.

Just like the leaves on each Shamrock I see, There are three parts to the Holy Trinity. First is God the Father, then Jesus, His only Son, And the Holy Spirit together as ONE.

Registration continues to go very well. Both preschool and small step classes are full for the morning sessions. We have a few spots left in our Pre-K and afternoon Preschool class. Hard to believe we are just about full! We are looking forward to sharing the good news of Jesus Christ to all of these precious children next year.

Blessings,
Tracey

February Notes from Preschool

School News
Greetings from the Preschool! It’s hard to believe but registration for the 2015/2016 school is under way. Please continue to keep our school in your prayers as we prepare to welcome new students and families to Zion. What a tremendous opportunity we have to preach the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ to small children. “Let the little children come to me and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. I tell you the truth, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.” Luke 18:16-17

Current school families can register now with open registration starting February 9th. Registration information can be found in the school lobby at the workstation, or it can be found on our website. If you know anyone interested in our school, please have them call the office and ask for me. I’m scheduling tours now.

January was full of winter related activities like snowball fights (play snowballs, of course), singing and acting out the melting snowman song and pretending to be a polar bear in a snow storm! Oh, what fun! It actually felt like we lived in the North Pole…we were actually looking for polar bears and penguins from our windows! To help celebrate Lutheran School Week, we even had a visit from the Pittsburgh zoo…they left the polar bears and penguins at the zoo, but brought some cute, (and some not so cute), animals for us to pet and learn about. We got to see and pet a chinchilla, a Madagascar cockroach (yuck!) and a Rosy Boa snake (again, yuck!), but the kids loved it! The rest of Lutheran Schools Week involved PJ day and Beach day. There are over 1,250 Early Childhood Centers included among the grade schools, colleges, and seminaries. We are blessed to have the opportunity to share the gospel message to so many children and their families.

January has come and gone and hopefully the snow and cold temperatures has gone with it! (one can dream…right?) Even though the weather was miserable, we still felt the warmth of the Son in our school. What a blessing to be able to share Jesus’ love to our little children. Each February our school focuses on Jesus’ love for us. As a way for us to show love to others, our school has again teamed up with the Sunday School participating in a mission project that reaches out to the local community and beyond. This February we will be supporting our troops overseas through the non-profit organization Operation: Bags of Love. We are collecting items that are desperately needed, and appreciated, by our troops and their families. We have been collecting cereal bars, beef jerky and chewing gum. Hopefully between the school and the church we will have plenty of items for “Bags of Love” to send to our troops.

The teachers are also busy conducting PreKindergarten evaluations. Before children enter Kindergarten we test them on specific skills that are needed for Kindergarten. We then hold conferences with their parents and review the test results. It is our goal to give the parents as much information as possible before having to make the decision to send to Kindergarten, or to put them into a class like our Stepping Stones class.

As always, we welcome you to come down to the school and see what is going on. There’s always something new and exciting. We would love to see you!

Blessings,
Tracey Haris 

January Notes from Preschool

Notes from Preschool
Happy New Year from the Preschool! I hope everyone had a blessed Christmas season.

December was a very busy month for us. We had two Christmas Programs, two Christmas shopping days (which is an extra- long lunch bunch) with pizza and a movie, vision screening, Chapel , a scavenger hunt looking for Christmas symbols and class Christmas parties! Whew….I’m still tired! I hope some of you had a chance to see our Christmas Programs….the children did an amazing job lifting their little voices up to God. Their favorite song was “Go Tell it on the Mountain” and their voices weren’t so “little” as they blasted out those words. Pastor invited the Preschool families to worship with us on December 28th to sing “Go Tell it on the Mountain” with our Sunday School. Just a warning… be ready to hold on to your pew…they really belt it out!

January will be no different, which is a good thing , as getting the children back into a routine can sometimes be difficult after a long break. During Chapel we will continue with the Christmas story as we learn about Epiphany (visit from the Magi, or the Wisemen). We’re also looking forward to visits from the Zoo and celebrating Lutheran School Week during the last week of January. Lutheran Schools Week will include PJ day (which the staff loves) Beach day, Crazy Sock day and lots of fun-filled activities to go along with these themes.

Crazy as it sounds, we will start registration for the 2015/2016 school year at the end of the month. Our current enrollment is 120, our biggest so far, and we anticipate a similar enrollment for next year. With classroom sizes increasing, we now face the issue of not having enough room for all who want to attend. We have been so blessed at Zion so please pray that God will continue to guide families to our school, and that as a school we can accommodate all of the “little” souls who walk through our doors. It is an honor to be a part of these children’s lives and to be able to teach them the good news of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, and to watch them “teach” their families. AMEN!

Blessings,
Tracey Harris
Director

November Notes from Preschool

School News
“Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good. The Lord has truly been good to our school. We have been blessed with beautiful children, supportive and loving families, and a wonderful staff.

October has been a month full of excitement and exploration. The children explored so many of God’s creations including October’s most popular creation (at least, according to the children) the PUMPKIN!! I had the pleasure of presenting the chapel lesson this month with the children. The lesson was called “The Parable of the Pumpkin” I wanted to convey the Gospel message in a visual way, so we used pumpkins. Two carved pumpkins were presented side by side to the children. One has a smiling face and a lit candle inside, emitting a pleasant and warm glow. The other frowning pumpkin is dark inside. The children were asked which pumpkin they would rather be. “The happy one” they shouted! The children are told that Jesus is the Light of the World, and that He can provide a light to guide their lives if they love Him with their whole heart. When the children saw the sad and dark pumpkin I explained that life without Jesus would be dark and sad. The children were then asked how they think the “light” got inside of the pumpkin since the top was not cut. After guessing many interesting ways, I turned the pumpkin around and pulled out a heart shape, carved in the back of the pumpkin. The children are told that if they faithfully love Jesus with their hearts, souls and minds He will always be with them. The book “The Pumpkin Patch Parable” was also read to the children. It is our prayer that these two activities help to make the Gospel message more clear and meaningful to the children.

The month was also filled with field trips to local pumpkin farms, the Trolley Museum, picture days, and Fall Harvest parties. What a pleasure it is to hear all of those happy voices each day.

Our Road Rally fundraiser again proved to be a huge success. All proceeds from the Road Rally will go to help fund items for the school including a LED sign for the lobby and choral risers for our Christmas programs and end of year programs. It is my hope that the LED sign will help improve communication to parents on all the things we do….friendly reminders, if you will. It will also be used to wish children “Happy Birthday” when they come into the school…imagine the look on a child’s face when they see their name in “lights”! The choral risers will tremendously improve the visibility of the children to their family when “singing their little hearts out” at the programs.

Spaghetti Anyone? The date for this year’s Annual Spaghetti Dinner and Art Show is Friday, November 7th. We will do a buffet style dinner including spaghetti with marinara and meatballs and spaghetti with sausage, peppers and onions. Finishing off the dinner will be our delicious bake sale. If you would like to donate some “goodies” to the bake sale, please drop them off either Thursday the 6th, or Friday the 7th before 1:00 pm. Tickets are on sale now. Look for Dwight Weldon on Sundays, or contact the school office.

The Lord is good, indeed!

Blessings,
Tracey Harris

October Notes from the Preschool

School News
Our school year is off to another great start. We have the highest number of students enrolled in the history of the school…119! Our classes include 1 Stepping Stones class, 2 PreKindergarten classes, 3 PreSchool classes and 2 Small Steps classes. To accommodate all of these wonderful children, we had to add some new staff members: Amy Kissinger is working in the PreKindergarten class with Mrs. Barb, Karen Vinoverski is working with Mrs. Stacy in the PreKindergarten class, Tersa Peluso is working in the Stepping Stones class with Mrs. Peggy and Amamda Conway, who has been attending our church, is helping out in the Small Steps room. We now have a staff of 17, including me.

September was a month filled with a lot of excitement. We were excited to start a new year, excited to watch the transformation of the classrooms as some were painted and redecorated, excited to get to know our new staff members, excited to meet the new children and their families and excited to start sharing the good news of Jesus Christ to these young souls.

We jumped right in with circle time, craft time, playground time, story time, snack time, Kids Praise and Jesus time. We keep our days filled with activities where the children are learning while having fun. We also had a few tears, especially in the Small Steps and PreSchool classes. For most of these children it is their first time away from mommy or daddy, which can be scary. Our loving staff steps right in and calms their anxious little hearts! I’m proud to say that we are almost a “tear free” school.

We will have our first Chapel in October…The Parable of the Pumpkin. “For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” make His light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ.” 2 Corinthians 4:6. This lesson uses two jack-o-lanterns , one happy with a lit candle inside and one unhappy, dark pumpkin. The carved pumpkins help to explain the Gospel story in a very “visual” way. The lesson explains the differences between living life with Jesus and living life without Jesus. We will also read “The Pumpkin Patch Parable.” It is our prayer that these two activities help to make the Gospel message more clear and meaningful to the children. “When Jesus spoke again to the people, He said, I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” John 8:12

Spaghetti anyone? The date for this year’s Annual Spaghetti Dinner and Art Show is Friday, November 7th. We will do a buffet style dinner including spaghetti with marinara and meatballs and Fettuccini Alfredo. And, of course, we will have our delicious bake sale. If you would like to donate some “goodies” to the bake sale, please drop them off either Thursday the 6th, or Friday the 7th before 1:00 pm. Tickets will be on sale soon.

We will finish the month with field trips to local pumpkin farms for some pumpkin picking, apple tasting and just plain good ol’ fun!

Blessings,
Tracey Harris

May Notes from the Preschool

Notes from the Preschool
May? How can it be? It never fails to amaze me that time goes by so quickly. Our school year is almost over, but we still have a lot to accomplish this month. We will start our month with a celebration of moms. Mom and Muffins is a time when moms can come to school and have some special time with their child….and of course…muffins. Each child has prepared something special for their mom, but we can’t tell you what it is, it might spoil the surprise. The event will end with some songs we sing in Kids Praise.

Our PreK classes will take a field trip to Reillys Strawberry Farm. They will learn how a strawberry grows and even come home with a plant that they can put into their own garden. Who knows….maybe they will grow enough strawberries to make a pie! Our Stepping Stones class will take a tour of PNC Park. What an exciting way to see the Pirates home field up close. The kids have been talking about it all month…go Pirates!

We will end our year with our closing programs on Tuesday the 20th and Wednesday the 21st. Our closing progams will include several songs that we love to sing during Kid’s Praise and a slide show including pictures from the entire school year. They will be held during class time on both days, followed by some fellowship time with some yummy Rita’s Italian Ice.

After our year has “officially” ended, we will hold summer camps for two weeks in June. This year we will have Dirt Camp, Beach Camp, Fun and Games Camp and Book Camp. Our camps are always very well attended and much anticipated. Vacation Bible School is the week immediately following our last camp and equally anticipated by our preschool families. What a tremendous opportunity Zion has to spread the “good news” to so many little ears!

Enrollment is currently at 103. I anticipate more registrations during the summer months, so please keep us in your prayers that we can continue to maintain our level of excellence and order as our school continues to grow.

See you in September!

Blessings,
Tracey Harris

February Notes from Preschool

School News
Greetings from the Preschool! It’s hard to believe but registration for the 2014/2015 school is upon us. Please continue to keep our school in your prayers as we prepare to welcome new students and families to Zion. What a tremendous opportunity we have to preach the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ to small children. “Let the little children come to me and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. I tell you the truth, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.” Luke 18:16-17

Current school families can register now with open registration starting February 10th. Registration information can be found in the school lobby at our new workstation, or it can be found on our website. If you know anyone interested in our school, please have them call the office and ask for me. I’m scheduling tours now.

January was full of winter related activities like snowball fights (play snowballs, of course), singing and acting out the melting snow man song and pretending to be a polar bear in a snow storm! Oh, what fun! It actually felt like we lived in the North Pole…we were actually looking for polar bears and penguins from our windows! We even had a visit from the Pittsburgh zoo…they left the polar bears and penguins at the zoo, but brought some cute furry animals for us to pet and learn about. The kids loved it!

January has come and gone and hopefully the “Polar Vortex” has gone with it! Even though the weather was unbearable, we still felt the warmth of the Son in our school. What a blessing to be able to share Jesus’ love to our little children. Each February our school focuses on Jesus’ love for us. As a way for us to show love to others, our school has teamed up with the Sunday School again in participating in a mission project that reaches out to the local community and beyond. This February we will be supporting our troops overseas through the non-profit organization Operation: Bags of Love. We are collecting items that are desperately needed, and appreciated, by our troops and their families. We have been collecting single serving sizes of cereal cups, crackers and cookies. Hopefully between the school and the church we will have plenty of items , or “Bags of Love” to send to our troops.

The teachers are also busy conducting PreKindergarten evaluations. Before children enter Kindergarten we test them on specific skills that are needed for Kindergarten. We then hold conferences with their parents and review the test results. It is our goal to give the parents as much information as possible before having to make the decision to send to Kindergarten, or to put them into a class like our Stepping Stones class.

As always, we welcome you to come down to the school and see what is going on. There’s always something new and exciting. We would love to see you!

Blessings,
Tracey Harris

December 2013 - Notes from Preschool

Notes from Preschool
Greetings from the Preschool! We hope everyone had a blessed Thanksgiving. We have been busy little Pilgrims and Indians. As we usually do in November, we asked the children to bring in food items for the Bridgeville food bank. We explained that the food bank is where people who don’t have enough money to buy food can go and get food. Wow….the children were certainly up to the challenge. We were able to send bags and bags of food to help those less fortunate. It made the children feel good to know that they were helping little children and their families. Children truly are amazing in their capacity to understand real topics when presented in a way that relates to them.

The Spaghetti Dinner and Art Show was a huge success again this year. We served over 368 people…a school record! If we keep growing, we may have to start setting up heated tents outside to handle all of the people…it’s a great problem to have. Thank you to all who helped make this event possible. We could not do it without you. Money from this fundraiser will help fund the new reception area in the school lobby. Look for some exciting changes in that area in January.

December will be filled with lots of fun Christmas activities. In addition to our Christmas parties, kids praise, Chapel, Lunch Bunch Moms Morning Out and our Christmas programs, we will host two “Shopping days”. This is a time when parents can leave their children at school until 2:00 (with pizza, games and a movie, I might add) while their moms and dads have some shopping time “kid free”. I’m sure it doesn’t come as a surprise that this is very popular! The best part is that the kids love to stay at school longer with their wonderful teachers.

Our Christmas program will be on two days again this year due to the number of students and their families who attend. We would love for you to come and enjoy a night of beautiful Christmas music sung by our preschool children. What a joy it is to hear the good news of Christ's birth through the voices of these little children. The program dates are Monday December 9th and Thursday December 12th. Hope to see you there.

Blessings,
Tracey Harris
Director