Welcome Back

Dear Parents,

We are off to another great school year at SLPS!  It was nice seeing many of you at Back to School Night and it has been fun seeing lots of new faces and many old friends in the halls at SLPS at drop off and pick up.  I hope all of your children are settling in and that the first full week of school has gone smoothly for your little ones.

The PTC has kicked off the school year with numerous social events that have gone off without a hitch.  We are rolling full steam ahead into another great school year!  The Newcomers Welcome Party was such a wonderful event.   Everyone seemed to have a great time!  This event was a chance for parents who are new to SLPS to get to know each other and members of the PTC before school began.  Thank you to Casey and Sam Haverstick for hosting such a lovely night!

The four Playground Playdates held the week prior to the beginning of school all went well.  Everyone, children and parents alike seemed to have a lot of fun. These were nice, informal get-togethers that helped to transition the kids (and parents) back to school.

And lastly, Back to School Night hosted by SLPS and the PTC was a really nice evening!  This was a great opportunity for parents to meet their children’s teachers and to see their children’s classrooms.  Thank you to Elizabeth, Dee and all of the teachers for making this night possible!  We are very appreciative of everyone that supported the PTC fundraisers that we introduced that evening.  The Parking Raffle, Christmas Concert Pew Silent Auction and the sale of our stylish new SWAG were all successful fundraisers!  For those of you who did not purchase SWAG at Back to School Night and still would like to do so please fill out the fliers that went home with your children and place the flier along with a check or money in the respective envelope in Elizabeth’s office.  Your children will look adorable in their SLPS apparel showing their love for their preschool.  If you have any questions about the SWAG please reach out to me at kirasaunders@gmail.com or Barbara May at barbaramay428@gmail.com.  We greatly appreciate your support in our new fundraising initiative.

We have gathered all of the Room Parents for each class.  Being a Room Parent is a great way to be involved in your child’s class and to get to know the other parents and teachers so a big thank you to all of you who have volunteered for this position!  In the next few weeks each Room Parent will organize a Parent Coffee for parents to get to know each other a little better.  Please keep your eyes peeled for an email from your Room Parent in the next few weeks:)

As I have previously mentioned, the PTC is a unique community resource for SLPS families that helps make SLPS such a special place for our children.  We ask all SLPS families for a Family Contribution of $125.00 per child to help support all of our wonderful PTC led initiatives.  The PTC would not be able to operate without the time, effort and money that SLPS families offer year after year.  Your contributions allow us to support the PTC’s growing list of traditions:

  • Newcomers Welcome Party for new SLPS families
  • Back to School Night for all SLPS families
  • Playground Playdates & Pizza Party Picnics for students
  • Teacher Appreciation Luncheon & gift cards for SLPS faculty and staff
  • Halloween, Christmas & Easter Parties for students
  • Dad’s Morning In for the Dad’s to spend a fun morning with their kids at SLPS
  • Mom’s Nights Out during the fall & spring sessions
  • Dad’s Night Out (new this year)
  • Movie Morning at the Darien Playhouse for students
  • End of Year Family Picnic for the entire SLPS community

In addition to hosting these social events, the PTC also supports SLPS by raising funds for our teacher Wishlist and raising money to perform as needed renovations and enhancements to SLPS.  We greatly appreciate all of your continued support!

And finally, my last plug is for our annual SLPS PTC Benefit Auction which will be held, Saturday, March 24th, 2018 at the Country Club of Darien.   Please save the date!  The Benefit Auction is our primary fundraiser and the money raised allows the PTC to perform renovations and enhancements to SLPS as needed as well as continue to foster a warm, familial community at our school by hosting fun social activities.  We hope to see you all at the Benefit Auction to help support our school, our amazing faculty, staff and the PTC.

Please do not hesitate to reach out to me or any of our other PTC members throughout the year.  We are looking forward to a fantastic year with you and your little ones!


Kira Saunders

PTC Chairperson, 2017-2018

Teacher Spotlight: Dee Fumega

This month our Q&A features Dee Fumega, the school’s administrative assistant. Dee can be seen anywhere and everywhere at SLPS! I’m sure everyone will enjoy getting to know a little more about Dee.

What originally brought you to SLPS?

I was at a Hockey Tournament in Pennsylvania and couldn’t sleep.  I had my laptop with me and out-of-the-blue I started to peruse Craig’s list for part-time jobs.  I saw this posting for a Pre-School Administrative Assistant and sent a reply at midnight.  The next morning I had a response from the Director and a request to have a meeting.  During my interview a group of children walked through the hall singing “Jesus loves me this I know…” and I just melted, I had to have this job!

What is your favorite SLPS tradition?

How can I choose between the Halloween Parade, the Thanksgiving Luncheons, Bell Ringing, Easter Egg Hunts, Mother Day Tea, Bike Day and Stepping Up?  I realize that I love every tradition here at SLPS!

What is your best advice for parents during the preschool years?

The laundry and the dishes can wait!  Spend quality time with your kiddos.  Go for a walk, feed the birds, go out in the rain, point out the stars – make time for the little things – they will be your child’s fondest memories.

What are your hobbies and interests outside of the classroom?

I love all kinds of crafts, especially making jewelry!  My husband recently came across Pinterest so we are now a crafting couple!  My indoor and outdoor plants thrive on love (and a little Miracle Grow).  I am deeply involved in my Church and run activities for the children almost weekly.

What is your current favorite book – both children’s and adult?

My favorite book as a child was “Are you my Mommy”.  I often wonder what my favorite book will be when I grow up…let’s wait and see.

SLPS Benefit – Live Auction Items!

The annual SLPS benefit is fast approaching. Below are descriptions of the featured live auction items. Hope to see many on Saturday night!

2017 SLPS Live Auction Items


Enjoy a one-night stay at The Ocean House, a historic Relais-Chateux resort located in the beautiful village of Watch Hill, RI. The Ocean House features extraordinary farm-to-table dining options, a 3,000 ft culinary education space, and a Forbes five-star spa, fitness & wellness center – all just a short car ride away from CT. This incredible package includes 1) a $250 Ocean House gift card that can be used anywhere on the Ocean House property, 2) gorgeous sun & surf inspired clothing for the whole family from local Watch Hill lifestyle brand, Three Islands Clothing, and 3) a set of signature “Watch Hill” Roadie travel cups from Seaside Delights. Plus a manicure from Posh to get you ready for your trip! (Stay valid November-April. Holidays excluded.) Value: $1,110



Spend a perfect summer day or evening cruising the Long Island Sound with friends or family. With room to accommodate 8 people, this stunning 42-foot Grand Banks Europa can be yours for a fun, adventure-filled day. Set sail with the owners of this gorgeous boat and enjoy a private tour of the LI Sound with friends or family on a beautiful New England summer day or evening. The package includes a set of 10 signature “Boat” Roadie travel cups from Seaside Delights and “rosé all day” for you and your guests to toast to good weather, good health and good fortune. (Date subject to boat owner availability.) Value: $3,370



Celebrate summer in New England with a catered clambake party for up to 30 people. Clambakes of CT will provide food & service for a gourmet clambake experience in your own back yard. The menu includes steamed clams and lobster, NY strip, BBQ chicken, sides, desserts and much more! Impress your guests with stunning floral table arrangements from Sweet Peas & Poppies, and keep the fun flowing with white wine and beer for your guests courtesy of Leary’s Liquor Cabinet. (Date to be determined with vendors. Alcohol & floral vouchers must be used before Labor Day 2017.) Value: $3,000



You and two friends will enjoy a private water shuttle from Noank, CT to the dock at the 17th tee of the Fishers Island Club (Fishers Island, NY) where you’ll be met for a round of golf with a member. Take in spectacular water views from all 18 tees and greens while enjoying drinks on the course and lunch after your round at the club. Ranked the 10th best course in the country by Golf Digest, this truly unique experience is a golfer’s dream not to be missed! Your water shuttle will ferry you back to the mainland after your memorable day. (Date subject to course and member availability. Must be used in 2017.) Value: $1,200



Every child has their own way of thinking, clever words and interpretations that we are sure to forget in the years ahead. With McKay Williamson (MKW) you can hold on to this moment in time and all of your child’s special ways forever. Capture your child’s/children’s view on the world in a professionally filmed interview to create a priceless time capsule. MKW, the premier creative agency for families, captures the comedy and wisdom of your child’s insights and their hopes and dreams. You’ll receive a professionally edited film of this special interview to treasure for years to come. (Date subject to agency availability.) Value: $4,000

April Vacation Camps

April break is right around the corner, and if you’re planning on sticking around town, here are some great vacation camp options to keep the kids active during the break.

Darien YMCA – 4/10-4/13 (Closed Good Friday)

Half (9am-1pm) and Full (9am-4pm) days available for Preschoolers ages 3 and up. Member Rates: $60 for half and $80 for full days. Non-Member Rates: $70 for half and $90 for full days. More information including registration:  http://www.darien-ymca.org/vacation-camp

Kids U Stamford – 4/10-4/14

Morning (9:15am-12:15pm) and Afternoon (1:15pm-4:15pm) sessions available for children ages 3-9. Cost: $250 per week or $50 per day for morning or afternoon session. More information, including registration: http://www.kidsu.com/camp_at_stamford.html

Camp Pump It Up Norwalk – 4/10-4/14

Offering Morning (9am-12:30pm), Afternoon (12:30pm-4pm) or Full Day (9am-4pm) sessions geared for children ages 4-11 (not limited to these ages). Cost: $175 for full day/full week, $25 for AM or PM, $40 for full day. More information: https://www.pumpitupparty.com/norwalk-ct/camp-options/

Darien Nature Center – 4/10-4/13 (Closed Good Friday)

Crickets April Vacation Program available 9:30am-11:30am for age 2 and 9:30am-1:30pm for ages 3+. Cost: Age 2 – $150 for 2 day session, Ages 3+ – $320 for 4 day session, $160 for 2 day session. More information, including registration: http://dariennaturecenter.org/crickets-april-vacation-program/

Chelsea Piers Little Athletes Camp – 4/10-4/14

Little Athletes Gymnastics camp takes place 8:45am-11:45am and is available to ages 3-5.  Rates: $60 per day for members and $70 per day for non-members. More information, including registration: http://www.chelseapiersct.com/school-break-camps/little-athletes-gymnastics-camp/

Teacher Spotlight: Elizabeth Hearle

In the interest of getting to know our faculty and staff a little bit better, we have started a teacher spotlight series. Each month we will feature a Q&A with one our of beloved SLPS faculty or staff members.

Who better to start with than our fearless leader, SLPS Director Elizabeth Hearle!

What brought you back to SLPS?

St. Luke’s has been an integral part of my life for 17 years. I joined St. Luke’s Parish in 2000.  My children- Alexa (16), John (14) and Hudson (13) were all christened at St. Luke’s and attended preschool at SLPS. During my time at SLPS, I served on the PTC as Vice Chair and Chair, on the Management Board for the school and taught here for 4 years before taking the position of Executive Director at the Darien Nature Center.  I am beyond thrilled to have been given the opportunity to return here as the Director at SLPS, and I know I have very big shoes to fill following in Susan Martin’s footsteps.

What is your favorite SLPS tradition?

I absolutely love the Bell Ringing at Christmas. My favorite memories from my children’s time at SLPS are watching them in their holiday outfits singing their little hearts out. Even back then, the school used the disco ball to create stars on the ceiling during Silent Night.  The wonder on the children’s faces when the lights went out and the stars filled the room was always so touching.

What is your best advice for parents during the preschool years?

Enjoy the time you have with your children and don’t worry too much about the little things! I remember being so worried about getting my children into the “right” preschool, potty-training before they were 3, and signing them up for every extra-curricular program I could find. Now that I have teenagers, I realize that none of that was stress-worthy. What is important is making sure they are happy, safe, secure, and loved unconditionally.  Spending as much time as you can with them and enjoying that time when they are little builds a solid foundation for their future.

What are your hobbies and interests outside of the school?

With 3 active teenagers who can’t drive yet, I don’t have a ton of time for hobbies. I tend to spend a lot of time driving to and from children’s sporting events. Sports are huge in our house! Weekends are spent at various sporting fields depending on the season. If the television is on in our house, chances are it is programmed to ESPN. We also spend a lot of time playing basketball, football and lacrosse in the yard. When I do get a moment of downtime, I love to read just about anything I can get my hands on.  My house has piles of books of all genres in every corner.  I always love a good book recommendation!

What is your current favorite book- children’s and adult?

My favorite children’s book is Goodnight, Moon by Margaret Wise Brown. It will always bring back memories of reading to my children as I tucked them in at night.  They asked to have it read to them over and over. I think I have probably read it 1,000 times and never get tired of its simplicity and rhythm.

My favorite adult book is To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee.  It was the first book I read that really touched me with its warmth and humor despite the severity of the issues it addressed.


Weekend Happenings

It’s time for the weekend! Here are a few events, both indoor and outdoor that may be of interest with the kids. Bundle up, winter is back for a weekend visit…

Monster Jam at the Webster Bank Arena in Bridgeport, 3/3-3/5, both day and evening shows. Daytime shows include a “Pit Party”. Ticket and Event info:


Maple Sugar Festival at the Stamford Nature Center, 3/4-3/5, 11am-3pm. Learn about all things maple syrup or just attend the pancake brunch on Sunday from 11am-2pm. More info:


Maple Syrup Open House at Ambler Farm in Wilton, 3/4 and 3/11, 1pm-2pm. It must be syrup season. Visitors can tap a tree, learn about how syrup is made and taste test Ambler Farm’s own maple syrup on Ice Cream. More info:


Stamford St. Patrick’s Day Parade, 3/4 at 12pm. Get the Irish celebration started early at the popular event in its 22nd year. Parade route and additional info:


Opening Weekend at Get Air, Stamford, opens 10am on Saturdays. Newest way to get the winter energy out. Looks to have fun for all ages…




Summer Camps

It’s hard to think about summer when there is so much snow on the ground, but believe it or not many of our local summer camps are already starting to fill up. I have put together a list of summer camps for preschoolers in hopes of making it easier for those of us still trying to decide on where to go. Please let me know if I’ve missed any!

Before you know it our laundry baskets will be full of swimsuits and towels and our mudrooms filled with sunscreen and flip flops.


Darien Nature Center

120 Brookside Road, Darien, CT 06820 203.655.7459


Registration begins February 27th at 9:00 am


Long Ridge Camp

478 Erskine Road, 203-322-0253


Registration Open


Stamford Nature Center Camp

39 Scofieldtown Road, Stamford, CT 06903 203.977.6521


Registration begins February 20th at 9:00 am


Darien Arts Center—Darien

2 Renshaw Road, 203-655-8683



Camp Playland, New Canaan

802 Ponus Ridge, 203-966-2937

Registration Open


Darien YMCA

2420 Post Road, 203-655-8228

Pre-School Camp

Registration begins February 7


Whiteman Sports Camp

Bayley Beach


Registration Open


YWCA Summer Fun


Registration Opens January 31


Darien Summer School



Registration begins January 23


Green Moon




Five Mile River Nursery School


Ski Tips for Parents

With winter break approaching, some may be thinking about a family ski trip to take advantage of the season but if you are an inexperienced skier like me, the thought of getting yourself and children to the slopes is daunting. We asked some SLPS skiers for some expert opinion on getting the kids out there (Thanks, Courtney and Erinn!). Below you will find some helpful information and tips for getting the family out there, up on skis and exhausted.
Local Mountains Great for Beginners:
While there are several ski areas nearby in Connecticut and New York that is especially good for new skiers and kids, here are a few highlighted. These areas are all convenient to Darien and could even be done as day trips. The “mountain” sizes are certainly not huge and most of the snow is man-made but each is a great starting point for kids, have rentals available, are accessible with magic carpets and offer private lessons or group ski school.

– Powder Ridge Mountain Park & Resort, 99 Powder Hill Road, Middlefield, CT 06455 (58 Miles from Darien) – Renting gear is very easy onsite as you can enter all info on kiosks or make it one step easier and preregister all info online (names, sizes, weight) and the equipment will be ready upon arrival.

– Thunder Ridge Ski Area, 137 Birch Hill Road, Patterson, NY 12563 (42 Miles from Darien) – Proximity is key at Thunder Ridge. A great learning area for beginners of all ages.

– Mount Southington, 396 Mt Vernon Road, Plantsville, CT 06479 (56 Miles from Darien) – As a starting point, Southington has a bit better ambiance than Thunder Ridge.

– Mohawk Mountain, 46 Great Hollow Road, West Cornwall, CT 06796 (79 Miles from Darien) – A bit bigger and has more amenities than other local spots.

If you are looking for more of a weekend getaway, skiing in Vermont offers a bigger challenge with larger mountains and trails. Jackson Gore Inn at Okemo Mountain Resort (111 Jackson Gore Road, Ludlow, VT 05149, 209 Miles from Darien) is a great place for a ski weekend with the kids. The hotel is on the mountain which makes it very easy and convenient with little kids who need to nap after a morning on the slopes.
If the kids fall in love and you catch the ski bug, the Hermitage Club also in Vermont (hermitageclub.com) offers a full-service experience with amenities such as valet parking, ski valets to take your gear to the mountain, lockers, high speed bubble lift which keeps everyone warm, and perhaps most enticing, no lift lines.

Before you hit the road to get to the slopes, here is a list of the essential gear so you don’t have to leave the mountain with someone complaining of cold ears or wet bottoms.
– While PJ’s or traditional long johns are typically fine to serve as the base layer, it’s advisable to use a moisture wicking material in case snow makes its way into pants or under the jacket.
– On top of the base, a micro fleece layer or even sweatpants and a sweatshirt. Warm socks are very important and moisture wicking is again advisable.
– A winter jacket and snow pants serve great as the outer layer. However, the temps can dip very low in Vermont so you may consider a super insulated ski jacket and bib such as Spyder brand if you’re headed further north.
– Finally, outfit with a helmet (offered as part of a rental package at most mountains), ski goggles, mittens and a neck warmer. A full head/neck warmer may be necessary for colder temps.

For parents, the most rewarding part of the first day on the slopes with the kids may be the après portion and solid night’s sleep for the little ones after an exciting and tiring day on the mountain.
Good luck out there!

By : Maggie Machir