By Jennifer Landrieu, Director

Play Dough KidsDo you want to strengthen your child’s fine motor skills?

One of the best and easiest ways to strengthen the small muscles in their hands is to let them play with PLAYDOUGH!

During free play and center times, our students can roll, poke, cut, and create with it. They can use rolling pins, cookie cutters, and pipe cleaners to change the dough or mix two colors together to make new colors.

Worried about a mess at home? Line a cookie sheet with tinfoil and let your child play with the dough at the kitchen table.

Here are a few of the recipes we use at the Preschool:

Traditional Playdough Recipe

Playdough Hands

  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 cup salt
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 tsp. cream of tarter
  • 2 tbs. oil
  • Food coloring

Mix all ingredients together. Cook on stove over medium heat. Stir constantly until mixture becomes a ball. Remove from heat, knead. Store in air-tight container.

Gluten-Free Playdough Recipe for Allergy Classes


  • 1 cup rice flour
  • 1 cup cornstarch
  • 1 cup salt
  • 4 teaspoons cream of tartar
  • 2 cups water
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • Food coloring

Mix ingredients. Cook and stir on low heat for 3 minutes or until it forms a ball. Cool completely before storing in a sealable bag/container.

Sensory Table

By Jennifer Landrieu, Director


The children play cooperatively or independently at the tables using cracked corn or water.
Sensory2 Sensory4
Sieves, scoops, cups, bowls, shovels, and other toys made the table even more exciting!
Sensory Table Sensory3

Wild West Pony Rides

By Jennifer Landrieu, Director

Pony Rides

The sun was shining, the ponies were friendly, and our riders could be heard saying “Giddy-Up!” The children went for a ride on Winnie and Strawberry on the grass next to the playground.

The ponies enjoyed eating some clover and the children enjoyed petting them.

Special thanks to Cloverland Farm for bringing their ponies.

If you’d like more information on how to schedule your own pony party, you can get in touch with Joanne at 908-996-3140.

It was the perfect day for our little cowboys and cowgirls to go for a pony ride!

horse2 horse4 horse3

Block Center

By Jennifer Landrieu

  • Develop hand/eye coordination.
  • Develop a sense of balance.
  • Develop math concepts – number, size, shape, space, and weight.
  • Learn to share an area with others.
  • Work cooperatively with others.
  • Use imagination and creativity.
Block3 Block2

Aquatic ABC’s Program

By Jennifer Landrieu

Mrs. Kerdock from the New Jersey Academy for Aquatic Sciences’ TrOUTREACH program visited the campers at Camp North Branch as part of their “beach” themed week.

The TrOUTREACH program brought science to life right in our own program!

Our program started with the children working in teams of two to find a letter and an animal to match. C is for CRAB, L is for LOBSTER, and S is for SHARK were a few of the pairs that were found.

They were then introduced to Sea Stars and a Horseshoe Crab! A Sea Star has five legs and five eyes, but they move very slowly. It takes them a week to travel a mile. A Horseshoe Crab has ten legs, no teeth, and uses its tail to flip himself back over.

We had a great time learning about sea life!

Aquatic3 TrOUTREACH 5

Summer Books We Love

By Jennifer Landrieu

Looking for a good book to read this summer?

Check out a few of our favorites or visit your local library for more choices!(Here’s a link to the Somerset County Library System’s Children’s Page)

  • At the Beach by Anne Rockwell
  • Corduroy Goes to the Beach by B.G. Hennessy
  • Hello Ocean by Pam Munoz Ryan
  • Our Day at the Seashore by Amy and Richard Hutchings
  • Sea, Sand, and Me by Patricia Hubbell
  • Thank You, God, For Summer by Jane Belk Moncure
  • There was an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Shell! By Lucille Colandro
  • When Summer Comes by Robert Maass

Eyes of the Wild Traveling Zoo

By Jennifer Landrieu

Eyes of the WildMiss Kim introduced our campers to a chinchilla, hedgehog, fox, dove, and wallaby today!

She explained that Eyes of the Wild rescued many of the animals we saw and now they help educate others.

Campers were able to touch the chinchilla, hedgehog, and dove.

For every one hair we have on our head, a chinchilla has 60! They’re the softest animal on the planet. Eyes of the WIld-Chinchilla
Eyes of the WIld-Fox This fox lives in the desert
and can hear things up to a mile away.
When a hedgehog gets scared, he rolls himself into a ball and flexes his muscles to push his quills up. Eyes of the WIld-Hedgehog
Eyes of the WIld-Wallabee The wallaby used her hands to pick-up her food. Her tail is a large muscle. Miss Kim called it her “Wallaby Leash.”
We danced like doves, bobbing our heads, flapping our wings, and walking in a circle. Eyes of the WIld-Dove

2013-2014 Parent Survey Results

By Jennifer Landrieu, Director

Every spring, our Preschool parents are asked to fill-out a survey to let us know how their year went. Here’s a sample of what they said:

About their overall experience:

  • We love the Preschool!
  • Thank you for creating a very loving and nurturing PreK program. I am so happy to have been a parent here for seven years.
  • We love NBRC and are happy with the warmth and caring of the teachers for our child.
  • The teachers at North Branch go above and beyond.
  • Very happy with the Preschool and always recommend it to others. Everyone is caring and interested in the best for each child.
  • We cannot thank you enough for all that the school has done to accommodate our son’s allergies. He always felt included and we knew he was in a safe environment. His teacher went above and beyond!
  • Thank you for four great years with our children at the Preschool. Your school gave both of our children the loving environment that has given them a great start and a love of school. Thank you for all you do.
  • Each of our five children had a wonderful preschool experience at NBRC. Thank you!
  • My child loves coming to Preschool. She’s very proud of everything she’s done in school.
  • The Preschool was a God send for our son and our family.
  • The Preschool is a great environment. Great lessons taught and great student-teacher interactions.
  • I liked the academic component of the program and the social/nurturing aspects.
  • The teachers were very patient and very caring. I was very pleased with the Preschool.
  • We love the Preschool, and as first-time parents of a preschooler, we couldn’t be more pleased!

About our teachers:

  • The teachers always welcomed my child with open arms.
  • The teachers were very welcoming and friendly.
  • Love every teacher.
  • The teachers made us feel like part of the class.
  • They created a warm, welcoming environment.
  • Very friendly, warm, and inviting… the way it should be. ☺
  • The teachers are warm and approachable. Very easy to talk to!

About our facility:

  • Such a warm and welcoming environment!
  • The classrooms were always very organized and clean.
  • The classrooms are colorful and fun.
  • Spacious and full of interactive, hands-on activities.
  • There were lots of things to play with and I loved seeing all the children’s art displayed throughout the school.

About whether their child was prepared for their next level of education:

  • I can’t believe how much they learned this year – Amazing!
  • The 5-Day class is a great prep for Kindergarten.
  • My daughter is absolutely prepared for Kindergarten. She is able to write words and count by 10’s!

About the communication between school and home:

  • I thought all the information and reminders outside each class was great and LOVED the weekly emails from the teacher.
  • Thank you for the emails and pictures of my child.
  • I truly appreciated the emails, especially the end-of-the-week ones that described what had happened in school that week. I always felt informed.

About whether our program lived up to their expectations of why they chose our program over other programs:

  • Exceeded my expectations.
  • When you pick-up a smiling child, that says it all!
  • We wanted him to learn about Christ and academics and he has.
  • I felt comfortable leaving my child at school. I knew she would be happy and she would be taken care of. I felt that the teacher truly cared about the children and it really showed.
  • Love NBRC Preschool! Safe, happy, friendly environment.

A Philanthropic Preschool

By Jennifer Landrieu, Director

The North Branch Reformed Church Preschool has offered a quality early childhood education program to our surrounding communities for 57 years. We follow the mission of the church and strive to be the hands and feet of Jesus, reaching out to help others in need.

We’ve been blessed this year to offer our support through financial means, services, and goods donations to many local and international charities and individuals.

The Preschool offers scholarships to local children who otherwise wouldn’t have the benefit of attending a preschool program, as well as discounts to church members and families with multiple children attending in one year. This year, over $5000 in discounts and scholarships were awarded.

Our teachers and families have donated over 30 bags of clothing to the FISH Hospitality Program in Somerville, who serves local homeless individuals and families and have collected over 500 cans and non-perishable food items for the local food bank through our Thanksgiving and Father’s Saturday programs. The Preschool collected over 200 requested Christmas items, ranging from slippers and toys to household appliances, for the women and children of The Resource Center of Somerset NJ who helps women and children who are victims of domestic abuse.

On the first Friday of each month, our teachers may wear jeans if they choose to donate $5 to the charity of the month. The teachers choose the organization to be supported and just this year, over $1000 has been donated to organizations such as Lee’s National Denim Day (breast cancer research), American Cancer Society, UNICEF, Sandy Hook Playground Fund, World Vision Fund (goats and chickens to third world countries), Alzheimer’s Foundation, Pancreatic Cancer Foundation, Leukemia Foundation, and Grace Church.

The warm and caring hearts of our teachers and families can be seen every day at our Preschool and in our community. We invite you to visit our program and see it for yourself. Tours are offered by appointment to see our programs for 2 ½ to 5 year olds.

We hope to see you soon!

Greetings from the TTh 203 class!

We are a joyful group of 11 girls and boys.

Upon arrival, after hanging up our coats and bags, we find our names, which are written on shapes representing the color and the shape of the month. This activity is a responsibility and also reinforces their name recognition, in addition to reinforcing color and shape recognition.

203monsterSoon after arrival, everyone finds a cloud shape on the rug for our morning greeting. Our class is very aware if a classmate is not present and can name who is not here. We happily sing our “Hello Everybody, We’re so Glad to See You” song, naming each person. We talk about what we are going to do that day and who is our leader for the day – a job that everyone is anxious to do.

During our next period of time, the children engage in free play activities and one-on-one time with a teacher, working on a project that is concept or skill related. The children are busy using their imaginations painting or drawing at the easel, pretending while donning clothes from the dress-up basket, “cooking or serving” in the kitchen area or rolling, cutting shapes, or creating objects with play dough. They especially enjoy scooping, measuring, and mixing in the corn meal/water table. They are quite creative building and balancing wooden blocks to make such wonderful structures. At the tables, there are many manipulatives to engage their curiosity and skills – sorting dinosaurs or bugs by color or type, following a pattern with different ice cream cones, creating with Legos or Design builders, or assembling puzzles individually or with a friend.

Reading BooksOther circle time activities that our class enjoys are passing and rolling our red ball to a friend, playing “Color/Shape Bingo”, “What’s in the Box?”, “What’s Missing?”, doing the “Hokey Pokey”, and tapping rhythm sticks to the beat.

In addition to our busy class time, we enjoy our special time in music with Mrs. Orlando and in Language arts with Mrs. Sodano on Tuesday and in gym with Mrs. Kolb on Thursday. We have been very good listeners for our monthly story time with Pastor Todd or Pastor Mark and for the special visitors that have come to our class.

Another responsibility that the children have is cleaning up our classroom after free play. With everyone helping, it is amazing how quickly this can be done. We are very proud of their effort.

free playAfter washing hands and getting their own cup and napkin, we give thanks to God, before enjoying our snack. Our class does enjoy snack time. While we wait for all our classmates to finish their snack, the children have a quiet time to look at books. We then enjoy a story read by one of the teachers.

This winter, we have spent our gross motor time in our downstairs large motor room. The class loves this time. They enjoy taking turns riding on the coaster, rolling down the incline mat, sliding down the slide, and rocking in the boat. They also have fun pretending to “sell ice cream” from the play structure or stand on the stairs in a group, holding hoops, proclaiming “we are acrobats”. Now that Spring is here, we will be able to enjoy our large motor time in the playground.

Our busy days are filled with fun, learning, and smiles, enjoyed by the children and teachers.

Janice Davenhall
Anna May Halligan

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