Sharing our Blessings

By Jennifer Landrieu, Director

Give thanks in all circumstances,
for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.

– 1 Thessalonians 5:18

Growing up, I remember dropping off dinners to families who had a sick mommy, shoveling snow for older neighbors, donating clothing I’d out grown to the Salvation Army, and singing Christmas carols at assisted living homes. Sharing time and talents was important to our family and my parents were living examples of this. They helped me recognize all our family’s blessings – a warm house, new clothing, food on our tables, love in our hearts, and so much more, but they also helped me understand that not everyone is as blessed as we were.

Here are some suggestions on how you and your family might share your blessings with others this month:

  • Children’s Clothing Challenge: Donate gently used children clothing to local children in need. Barrel in Fellowship Hall
  • Food Bank Collection: Donate non-perishable food items to help local families. Bring 2 canned goods to the Thanksgiving Feast! Barrel in Fellowship Hall
  • Four Seasons of Giving: In November and December, drop off a donation for the Somerset County Jail Chaplaincy Christmas Gifts Program for Children of Inmates. Barrel in Fellowship Hall.
  • Christmas Giving Tree: Later this month, take an ornament off the tree, purchase the item listed, bring it back. All items will be donated to the Resource Center of Somerset, who help families affected by domestic abuse.

2nd Annual Trunk or Treat

By Jennifer Landrieu, Director

The North Branch Reformed Church Preschool welcomed over 200 participants to our 2nd Trunk or Treat sponsored by our PTO! Preschool families wowed us with their creativity, decorating their trunks with themes like outer space, Despicable Me, beach, Toy Story, harvest, grocery store, and more.

Preschoolers and their siblings visited 44 trunks, collecting special treats like nut-free candy, hot chocolate packs, glow in the dark sticks, and pretzels.

10312After gathering their treats, they played games, picked a pumpkin at the “Preschool Pumpkin Patch,” received tattoos or face painting, voted on who they thought had the “Best Trunk,” guessed the weight of the big pumpkin, and enjoyed munchkins and apple cider.

Congratulations to the Hall family on winning the “Best Trunk” award – a family pack to Alstede Farm in Chester – and to the Lienemann family for guessing the weight of our 38 pound pumpkin!

Special thanks to Dream Dinners of Flemington for hosting a table and sharing their yummy soups, Arvin’s Garden Center for donating the small pumpkins, Linda’s Farm Stand for donating the big pumpkin, and Alstede Farms for donating the family packs.

10311Thank you to Christine Childs, PTO President, and PTO members Sharon Sushko, Christeen Scarpa, Helene Lombardo, Kathleen Scibelli for their help! And Preschool Board members, Wendy Baker, Melanie Brown, Charlotte Pluymers, Jennifer Russo, and Pastor Mark Swart.

Welcome to our 4 year olds in the Green Room!

MWFOrange2It is hard to believe that we have been in school for two months. Our 4 year olds are an energetic and social group who keep Mrs. Kiser and Mrs. Halligan on their toes. The boys and girls are eager to explore new things, play with their new friends and be helpers in class.

For some of the children, this is their first preschool experience and are learning many new routines i.e. walking in a line, using inside voices and walking feet, saying please and thank you, as well as listening during circle and story times. There are many opportunities for the children to learn how to take turns and share with their friends.

MWFOrange1We love to sing in our class during transitions times, going to and from the playground as well as in Music class with Mrs. Sheeley. Keeping the beat with musical instruments is fun. We can’t wait for our Halloween Parade to show you what we’ve learned.

In class we are working on developing our fine motor skills by squeezing, pinching, pulling and cutting play-doh with a wooden knife, picking up objects with large plastic tweezes, lacing, stringing beads, building with blocks, playing with peg boards, puzzles, scooping and pouring at the cornmeal table, and painting and drawing at the easel. Playing in the kitchen is a favorite; making cake, cookies, and coffee for the teachers. The children are very proud of their artwork and enjoy seeing it displayed for you to see.

Movement activities are always fun and we have really enjoyed being able to be outside playing on the playground, running, climbing, and learning to use our arms and legs when swinging on the swings. In class, we like to pretend to be different kinds of animals crawling, creeping, walking on our hands, and feet which challenges our large muscles.

Our children are enjoying their newfound independence by learning to put on their coats, hang up their school bags when coming into class, putting their drawings in their bags, cleaning up their toys, and helping to clean the tables before and after snack to name a few.

Praying with your Preschooler

By Jennifer Landrieu, Director

Call unto me and I will answer you and show you
great and unsearchable things that you do not know.

Jeremiah 33:3

Before my children were born, I prayed for them to be healthy, happy, and have love-filled hearts. When they were born, I gave thanks for their 10 fingers and 10 toes and as they grew I prayed for God to keep them safe.

I continue to pray for my children, but my favorite part of the day is praying with them. We talk about our day over dinner and share what we’d like to ask God to help us with and give thanks for all the good that happened during our day. Sometimes it’s simple stuff like “Thank you God for the yummy hot dog at lunch.” Other times, it’s the big stuff like “God, we ask you to keep Grandpa safe during his surgery.”

Prayer is just a conversation between you and God. Children need to know that God’s there for them and can always hear their prayers. Help them get into a “prayer habit” by asking them to pray these two prayers:

  • Thanks: Psalm 136:1 – Give thanks to the Lord for he is good. His love endures forever.
    Have your child start this prayer with “God I thank you for…” (friends, family, pets, food)
  • Help: Psalm 121:2 – My help comes from the Lord who made heaven and earth.
    Have your child start this prayer with “God, I ask you for…” (healing, health, patience)

As a family, you might start a Family Thankfulness Journal! Each night, write down something each person thanked God for that day. It’ll be a wonderful family keepsake in years to come.

5-Day Happenings

by Gerianne McGowan

We are experiencing the Life Cycle of the Monarch Butterfly in the 5-Day Class right now. Right before school started a female Monarch flew through Mrs. McGowan’s backyard and laid 10 eggs on her milkweed. The children have seen the tiny egg, a newly hatched caterpillar and have seen how the caterpillar eats and eats and grows and grows. When it is finished growing it climbs to the highest point and makes a silk button from which it hangs. It then forms a J while it is getting ready to change. It does a pupa dance and sheds for the last time and forms a beautiful green chrysalis with gold dots. We are keeping an eye on our chrysalises and check every day to see if our butterflies have eclipsed.

We have learned new words like: chrysalis, milkweed, pupa, cremaster, eclose , migrate and hibernate. We have read many books about Monarchs and how important they are in our world. We learned that the Monarch has a long, long journey in the Fall. The Monarch travels over 2000 miles to Mexico to hibernate during the winter and then when the spring comes they start to migrate back north and follow the milkweed as it grows. When our butterflies are ready, we will release them for their long journey.

Catepillar Cocoon Butterdly

We have also been doing an author study. We are reading many books written by Mo Willems. He has written Knuffle Bunny, Knuffle Bunny Too and Knuffle Bunny Free. These are about a little girl, Trixie, and her favorite stuffed bunny. In each book Trixie is a little older and slowly outgrows her bunny in her own time. Mo Willems also wrote the Pigeon books which the children cannot get enough of. They are quite funny because of the pigeon’s dramatic nature and every book has the children laughing and wanting to read another right away. Another series he has written are the Piggy and Gerald books. These are great for beginning readers as they have many sight words, repeated phrases and words easily sounded out.

We are also busy making new friends in our classroom. We have children from many different classes and even some brand new students. We are learning each other’s names and how fun it is to play with new friends. It is great to see them connect with new friends.

The 18th Annual Branchburg Country Fair

By Jennifer Landrieu

It was a beautiful, sunny day last Saturday when the Preschool participated in the Branchburg Country Fair! An estimated 5,000 people visited the big tent with their families and pets. This year, we were the only Preschool participating in the festivities and had bunches of new and familiar friends stop by to visit our table.

Over 20 registration folders were passed out and children were able to dig through our treat box for lollipops, crayons, coloring books, smiley face buttons, and erasers.

One older couple stopped by to let us know that their three children attended the Preschool over 30 years ago and they attributed their children’s love of learning to their wonderful first experience at North Branch Reformed Church Preschool!

Another family stopped by to let us know that their entire extended family has sent their children to the Preschool for the last 20 years and been so pleased. “We’d never consider sending them anywhere else… North Branch is the BEST!”

Special thanks to Preschool Board member Melanie Brown and Pastor Mark Swart for their participation at the fair with our Preschool’s table.

Christian Curriculum

By Jennifer Landrieu

But when the Holy Spirit controls our lives
he will produce this kind of fruit in us:
love, joy, peace, patience,
kindness, goodness, faithfulness,
gentleness and self-control.

– Galatians 5:22-23

fruit-of-the-spiritThe North Branch Reformed Church Preschool uses the Fruits of the Spirit Christian Curriculum for our 2 ½ to 5 year old students. Each month we discuss one fruit, beginning with “Kindness” in September when children are reminded how to use kind hands and kind words with each other.

Pastor Mark and Pastor Todd visit each classroom at the beginning of the month to read a Bible story with the children and pray.

Children will learn the following stories this year:

  • The Good Samaritan
  • Jesus Calms the Storm
  • Jesus Feeds the 5000
  • The Christmas Story
  • Zaccheus
  • Jesus and the Children
  • The Easter Story
  • The Creation Story
  • Joseph’s Coat of Many Colors

During Circle Time, a weather report is given and the children will sing a weather song.
It’s a sunny day,
It’s a sunny day.
God’s sun is shining.
It’s a sunny day.
(substitute cloudy, rainy, or windy)

Before our snacks and meals, the children say grace, thanking God for their food.

Many of our classes use this grace:
God is great.
God is good.
And we thank Him
For our food.
In Jesus name,

Our Music teacher, Mrs. Sheeley introduces the children to many Christian songs, like Jesus Loves Me, Mary Had a Baby, He’s Got the Whole World in His Hands. She also prepares the children for our Christmas Pageant and other programs.

We are blessed to be teaching the children about God’s love for them.

Here’s a link to a fun Fruit of the Spirit song.

Youth Programs at NBRC

By Jennifer Landrieu, Director

Church SchoolMy first visit to the North Branch Reformed Church was over 12 years ago, when my husband and I were looking for a church where we could raise our soon-to-be family. It happened quite by chance that we came on “Youth Sunday.” We were so impressed by the teenagers who participated in the entire service, from the greeting to the sermon to the benediction. This was what we wanted for our family!

Our children have grown in their faith at NBRC and made meaningful connections and relationships through participation on the youth programs offered. You and your family are invited to come, too.

Sunday Services

9:15am: Contemporary Worship Service with Sunday School
10:15am: Coffee Hour in Fellowship Hall
10:45am: Blended Worship Service with One-Room Schoolhouse Sunday School

Sunday School

Children ages 3 through 8th grade meet at the 9:15am service with a one-room schoolhouse at the 10:45am service for children ages 3 through upper elementary.


Nursery care is available for children under three years old from 9:15am to 11:45am.


Joyful Noise Choir (K-2nd grade)
Worship Teens (6th to 12th grade)
Youth Drama Club (3rd -12th grade)
For more information, please contact Linda Collins at [email protected] .

Youth Groups

Pioneers (3rd -5th grade)
Junior High Youth Group (6th -8th grade)
Senior High Youth Group (9th – 12th grade)
For more information, please contact Pastor Mark Swart at [email protected] .

Vacation Bible School (VBS)

Open to children who turn 4 by December 31, 2014 through 6th grade.
Over 180 children and 70 volunteers make this a very exciting week.
Sign-up information will be available in April.


9th – 12th graders interested in becoming church members.
For more information, please contact Pastor Mark.

2014-2015 School Year Welcome!

By Jennifer Landrieu

WelcomeThe leaves are beginning to fall and that means it’s almost time for our teachers and children to return to the Preschool.

All enrolled children will receive a postcard from their teachers letting them know what color their room will be. On Friday, September 5th, the children may visit their classrooms and meet their teachers during our Open House. Visit “OUR STAFF” page, where you’ll find a photo and biography of each teacher.

Our first days of school will be the following Monday and Tuesday for only one hour. Children will attend an abbreviated class and parents will attend our Parent Orientation meeting. As always, we’ll have extra hands and loving laps in our classes to help give extra hugs when they’re needed.

May God continue to bless our staff, children, and families.

Many Ways to Parent

From Grandma Says Blog…

Back in the 60’s, a psychologist named Diana Baumrind published her research on the effects of various parenting styles on children’s behavior, and many other researchers have studied this topic since then. I discuss the ideas here for your own reflection.

The authoritarian parent tries to shape and control the behavior of the child in accordance with a set standard of conduct, believing that children should accept parental authority unquestioningly.
These parents favor punitive, forceful measures to obtain children’s obedience. Children’s autonomy is severely restricted to keep children in their place.

The results of this parenting style are children who have little self-control, since they depend only on parents to limit their actions. These children also have low self-esteem, having received such strong, negative feedback.

At the opposite extreme is the permissive parent, who makes few demands on children for orderly behavior, seeming to accept all behaviors, good or bad.

Whether from indifference, inertia, or fear of the effects of being too authoritarian, these parents avoid exercising control, leaving children to function pretty much as they wish.

Interestingly, researchers find the same results for these children as those raised by authoritarian parents: both poor self-control and low self-esteem result from parents who don’t make limits and expectations clear, and who don’t seem to care enough to have firm expectations for their children.
Children raised by permissive parents also often receive negative feedback from others, because of their out-of-bounds behavior.

The third parenting style is identified as authoritative. Here parents set standards for conduct, while affirming a warm respect for children’s abilities to learn the reasons for conforming behavior.
Authoritative parents can be described as exerting firm control without hemming children in with restrictions. They use appropriate power, along with reason and shaping by routine and reinforcement to achieve their objectives.

Predictably, the results of their children are more positive, with children exhibiting both positive self-esteem and the development of self-control. The children have received the message that limits are necessary, and their parents believe that they are capable of learning to control themselves.
Many things influence which parenting style parents adopt, including their own early experiences and examples, their cultural assumptions about the parenting role, decisions and communication between parents, and individual approaches to life.

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