Here are some Frequently Asked questions that have come up. If you have a question that is not listed here, feel free to call us at (908) 766-1430.
Is Gentle Shepherd Christian Preschool a licensed facility?
Our facility is fully licensed by the State of New Jersey. The Preschool has been operating for 23 years.
What are the qualifications of the teaching staff at Gentle Shepherd?
The teaching staff at Gentle Shepherd is compromised of 4 college educated teachers and 4 trained assistants. They are seasoned individuals with combined preschool teaching experience of 60 years. From English Majors, Early childhood Majors, Art Majors, a reading specialist and more make up a combined group of rich and nurturing professionals that create an environment where learning is a priority. Our whole staff is trained in the CREATIVE CURRICULUM used daily in planning and assessing children’s needs. We participate in ongoing training and development by attending educational conferences and workshops throughout the year.
Teachers are also certified in basic First Aid, CPR, Epipen, and AED (defibrillator ) use each year.
I am interested in the Gentle Shepherd Preschool Program. How do I enroll?
Call or email us for a tour. Registration begins the second week of January. You can call us at 908-766-1430 or send us an email via our Contact page.
When does the school year begin and end?
Gentle Shepherd follows the Bernard’s Township school calendar in most cases. The Preschool begins on the Wednesday after Labor Day and ends on the first Thursday in June. The Preschool follows the public school calendar for February and April vacations.
Does Gentle Shepherd Christian Preschool offer any other programs?
Children who attend the preschool and participate in the 3 Year Old and 4 Year Old classes may stay for lunch bunch after school for 45 minutes offered during the week. They may then continue with an enrichment class provided by various vendors (art, cooking, dance, athletic programs) on any given day. Enrichment classes run from the end of September to the end of May in 15 week sessions.
Does my child need to be completely toilet trained to attend Gentle Shepherd Christian Preschool?
Children do not have to be completely toilet trained upon entrance, but we ask that you be in the process at home.
My child has severe food allergies. What measures does Gentle Shepherd have in place to address allergies?
Once registered, parents are asked to complete a Protocal Sheet for allergies describing the particular allergy enclosed in the enrollment packet along with a picture of the child and proper medications for an allergic reaction. (EPI pens, inhaler, etc.) Teachers are trained to administer EPI pens if needed. Special attention is given to providing safe snacks and creating an allergy-friendly room. Parents are welcome and encouraged to address specific concerns with our Director.
How can parents become involved in the school?
We welcome participation through our parent volunteer program. Parents actively participate in classroom activities by sharing their cultural backgrounds and/or careers. There are also opportunities of being a mystery reading or participating in game days throughout the year. Gentle Shepherd also encourages volunteers on Bike days and Farm day. Parents are also responsible for providing the healthy snack for one week a few times a school year on a rotating basis.
Besides the Director and the Staff, is there a group who governs Gentle Shepherd Christian Preschool?
A Church council composed of elected church members, a representative parent from the preschool and the elected Elders of the church govern Gentle Shepherd Christian Preschool.
Does Gentle Shepherd offer any type of babysitting/childcare?
Gentle Shepherd offers “drop off” babysitting 5 days a week from 7 AM to 4 PM. Have an appointment? Work part time? Or full time from September to June? Give us a try. We are available for children 6 weeks to 6 years of age. You do not have to be a registered preschool family to take advantage of this option. There is some paperwork to complete “up front” and then have a place for your child to have some play time while you get things done!
Does Gentle Shepherd offer a summer camp?
Gentle Shepherd offers a Preschool Vacation Bible school the week after school closes. There is also a mixed age group Vacation Bible School in August.
Do the children have an opportunity to get fresh air?
Gentle Shepherd has an age appropriate fenced in playground area away for the view of the street. We are firm believers in exercise and fresh air and each class has an opportunity to have their own playground every day. We also have small picnic tables and sometimes enjoy our class snack together in the great outdoors.
Many families also enjoy our playground after hours. We also have age appropriate tricycles so each class has their own bike days during the month as pedaling is an important skill to develop.
If we do have inclement weather Gentle Shepherd has a large gym area where parachute games and gross motor skill activities encourage strengthening and stretching our muscles even if we have to be indoors!
Is there a dedicated place for preschool families to park?
Gentle Shepherd is fortunate that Somerset Hills Lutheran Church provides a parking lot all its own with direct access into the school. Often times it is a gathering place after drop off of children for moms to catch up with friends! The great part? It is not visible from the street as safety is so important now-a-days.
How important is security?
Security is a critical part of life for our little ones. All doors in our building our locked during the day, we go to great lengths to have a nurturing secure place for little ones to grow.
We prepare every year for fire drills and lock down drills knowing the children are at a young age to learn safety protocol.