Newsletter – August/September 2017


Welcome (or welcome back) to GCNS!
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Welcome Letter from our President, Marissa Bogatch

Greetings and happy August!

I hope this note finds you all well…and possibly well rested now that summer is in its late stages : )  My family and I have the unique opportunity to spend our summers upstate in Saratoga Springs while my husband works at the beautiful and historic Saratoga Race Track.  Our boys have the pleasure of lazy days at the lake interspersed with day trips to the numerous child and family friendly locations around the area.  I have the pleasure to watch them run free, problem solve at their own pace, and make new connections with other children who we happen upon.  I am grateful to spend these days relishing in the sheer joy of a simple, unscheduled childhood summer.

While I ponder the start of a new school year, my stomach feels those all too familiar back to school butterflies.  I feel them not only for myself but for my boys, especially my older son who will be entering the second grade.  How will he adjust to the Stratford Ave building?  Will his teacher be a good fit for him?  Who will he sit next to at lunch?  How will he find comfort if he’s nervous?  After taking deep breaths and reflecting on his GCNS background, I ease.

Here at GCNS our children learn not only the skills that lay the foundation for a life of academic success, but more importantly, in my opinion, the essential skills for strong interpersonal relationships and the ability to cope in the face of a challenge.  I know that once he and I get over that initial hardship of letting go and getting on the bus, he will be just fine.  He is a nice, kind boy with wonderful social and pragmatic skills, of course his teacher will like him.  He knows exactly how to jump into a group of playing children and join in on the fun, of course his peers will want to be with him.  And he knows that at the end of the day I will be there, just where I said I would be to welcome him home and be whatever type of sounding board he needs to unwind from his day.  These are the tools that our children need to obtain in nursery school to successfully transition onto the next stage of life, and these are the skills mine certainly cultivated at GCNS.

This is my final year here.  I am both sad and excited to enter Pre-K with my little guy, Eli.  This marks the end of our family’s time at GCNS and I will be forever thankful that this is where we chose to spend our early developing days.

Undoubtedly this was the best choice in nursery school for my boys and our family and I am delighted that you have also chosen this path. I sincerely look forward to leading our school through a fun and successful year and getting to know you all personally and collaborating with you as parents for not only the continued improvement of our school but especially for the mutual benefit of our children. I hope that you all have a wonderful end to your summer and an exciting and hopeful beginning to the school year.   See you in September!

Marissa Bogatch, 2017/18 President, Pre-K West

Board of Trustees, 2017 – 2018

President:  Marissa Bogatch
VP  Fundraising:  Mary Sievers
VP Membership:  Meredith Mormile
VPs Maintenance:  Matthew Mohan &
Michael Cassaro
Treasurer (Payables):  Laura Bonelli
Treasurer (Receivable):  Andreana Mirabella
Treasurer (Billing):  Jennifer Rodriguez Russo
Communications:  Mairead Garry
Secretary:  Lauren Sbeglia

New Parent Orientation September 7th at 7:30pm

This highly informative meeting is required for all new parents and former Playgroup parents who did not attend the September meeting last year.  It is also a good refresher for those who have been away from the school for a few years.

Our director, Francie Cohn, will discuss your child’s first days in school and how you can make him or her more comfortable.  You will learn how to sign-up for your participation days and have an opportunity to meet our entire staff.

Committee Assignments

Each family serves on one committee.  The fundraising committees for 2017-2018 are still being formed.  Please submit your preference form if you haven’t done so already.  Forms will be given out at the September Orientation Meeting to those who have not received it.  Please email Mary Sievers with any questions at

First Maintenance Day, Saturday Sept 9,  7am – 9:30am

The purpose of the session is to prepare the building and playgrounds for the opening of school:  weed and spruce up the grounds, power wash playground equipment, wagons, sand toys and ready our extensive playground for the children.  Please email or Michael Cassaro if you plan to attend.  If you have a power washer, please bring it to this session.


Thursday, Sept 7:  New Parent Orientation, 7:30pm
Friday, Sept 8:  Parent-Teacher Conferences (you will receive a letter in the mail with your time slot)
Saturday, Sept 9:  First Maintenance Session, 7-9:30am
Monday, Sept 11:  Classes begin –short sessions for PG East, Nursery West, Pre-K East and West
Tuesday, Sept 12:  Classes begin – short sessions for PG West, Nursery East
TBA:  Back to School Nights

Parent Teacher Conferences Friday September 8th

A strong home/school connection is essential when building a good environment for young children.  We will begin the school year with a “Get to Know Your Child” conference.  Only by sharing information can we build a bridge strong enough to support our children.

You will receive a letter with an appointment time and an Interview Form and Special Education Services form from your child’s teacher.  Please fill them out and bring to your conference.  Teachers have found that an early conference, in which parents can share information about their child, their expectations for the school year and so forth, is especially useful.  During the spring semester, another conference date will be set when the teacher can report on the progress your child has made during the year.

If your scheduled appointment is inconvenient, arrangements will be made for an alternate day and/or time.

Tuition Due

Playgroup: $2,050
Nursery: $2,600
Pre-K: $4,100

There are three options for payment:
(1) payment in full (2) by semester – June & February or (3) monthly (payable the 1st of each month)

For questions, please contact our Treasurer, Jennifer Rodriguez Russo at or our Business manager, Jessica Dowd-Wilde at

Participation Days

During the first days of school, the class mom will introduce herself and discuss online scheduling for your participation days.  Participating parents are expected to arrive on time and stay about 10 minutes after dismissal.  The participating parent brings the snack and drink for their Playgroup or Nursery class on “their child’s special day.”

The Pre-K classes (and participating parents) will bring their lunch starting on Thursday, Sept 14.  Snack will be added to their schedule in February with the extended day. The children take their time with lunch so the teachers have found there isn’t a need for snack (or enough time for it!) until the day is extended.

All children in Playgroups and Nursery classes must bring a Ziploc bag, marked with their full name, containing an extra set of seasonal clothes to be left at school: shirt, pants, underwear or diaper and socks.Outdoor clothing for all children, should be clearly marked with your last name. For safety on the playground, girls may wear dresses on birthdays only.  Please no “flip-flops,” “crocs,” slides or clogs.  These types of shoes are hazardous on the playground.  Rubber soled shoes, sneakers with socks, are the safest footwear for children.
We need to replenish our supply of spare clothing; we are accepting a few donations of shorts and long pants, T shirts and long sleeved shirts sizes 2T – 5.
Mark Your Calendars!

Gift Wrap, Cookie Dough & Frozen Pies Fundraiser: mid-Sept to mid-Oct
Fall Pot Luck Supper: Friday, October 27, 2017
Holiday Wreath Sale: late October/early November
Cabin Fever: Winter 2018
Class Photos:  Early March
Children’s Event: Spring 2018
Spring Cocktail Party: May or early June

Auction Raffle Packages

We need your help for this year’s auction and raffle drive!  Every contribution is valued and is greatly appreciated.  No donation is too small because it may be put together with other donations to present a package of gifts.  The committee is looking for sporting tickets, hotel overnights, theater tickets, restaurants, vacation homes, professional services, etc.

Use your imagination!  If you know anyone who may be willing to donate, or who could give us a lead to a potential donation, please contact Carolina Martin,, or Kristin Eberle,

Donors will receive a tax-exempt form to keep for their records.

The Spirit of Giving

Our fundraising efforts are two-fold:  to provide the needed revenue for the operation of our school and to give back to our community.  This past school year we took part in a Food Drive held by the Nassau County Association for the Education of Young Children, the local chapter affiliated with the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC).  NAEYC is a nonprofit association dedicated to improving the well-being of all young children, with particular focus on the quality of educational and developmental services for all children from birth through age 8. During the Food Drive, our children and their families purchased kid-friendly, healthy, shelf stable foods and stocked a “market place” within our entrance lobby. We were then able to donate countless snacks and meals for NAEYC to distribute to the Mary Brennan INN in Hempstead.  The Mary Brennan INN is the largest soup kitchen on Long Island, serving anywhere from 300-500 guests per day, including many families with young children.  By participating in this project, our children experienced the importance of giving to others in an age appropriate and hands on way.

Our community has supported us through the years; it’s time for us to give back.

Staff Meetings

Monthly staff meetings are a vital part of how our teachers stay connected and up to date. With only 30 minutes between daily sessions, it has been challenging to plan full staff meetings where all can attend. This year there will be 6 staff meetings between the morning and afternoon classes (on 10/19, 11/28, 1/8, 3/2, 4/12, 5/15).  On those days, the three year old class will dismiss at 11:00am and the Pre-K classes will begin at noon. The annual staff development day will be on February 6th.

Class Moms will remind their groups of the schedule.

Capital Improvements

This summer, we purchased a writing center for the East room to match the one placed in the West room this spring.  Shelving was installed in the East block room for drying projects and storing materials.  A new storage container for the West playground sand toys and new tricycles are on their way.

Capital improvements are funded by our very successful fundraising efforts. Thank you all for helping us reinvest in our amazing building and grounds.

Information required during the first few days of school:

Immunization Record Required
By New York State Law, no child may be admitted to nursery school without an up-to-date immunization record, giving month, day and year of vaccinations and a physical examination.  While dental exams are not required by New York State, they are now required for our license for Nursery and Pre-K children. For your convenience, Health and Dental forms can be found on our website,, under the current families section.  If you have any questions, please contact our Health Chairman, Mary Kim Mehlman at

Emergency Contact Information
During the first days of school, you will be asked to complete an “Emergency Card” which will be kept on file in the school and given to each teacher. Please be prepared with your pediatrician’s telephone number, parents’ business contacts, cell phone numbers, etc, and the name of a relative, friend or neighbor with contact information for that person.

Our school participates with “One Call Now” to send out personalized messages to all parents and staff for school closings or emergencies.  You will be asked to provide the school with contact information so you can receive messages from this system.

Child Release Policy
It is the policy of the Garden City Nursery School to provide for the safe arrival and departure of all children.  You will sign a “Child Release” form to be kept on file in the office which designates who the child may be released to.  If your child is to be released to a different person, a note must be sent to Francie and the child’s teacher.  We will be asking that person for photo identification before releasing your child.

Enrichment Offerings for our Pre-K Children

Our nursery school offers several Enrichment Classes for our four year olds through the year.  These classes offer our children a wonderful opportunity to explore new topics and include:  Lunch & Literacy, Yoga, Explorations in Science, and Spanish & Movement. These classes run in 8 week sessions beginning in October. The Music Workshop is a year-long after school class offered by our music teacher, Fran Rissland. Registration is underway for our Fall session. Sign-ups are limited and on a first come basis.

Welcome New Families!

Playgroups:  Cardone, Joelsen, McGlynn, Minardi, Pombar, Sofia, Terranova, Unterstein, Hutcheson, Knauss, Polo
Nursery: King, Matteini, Morriello, Prisco, Torres, Torrogrosa, Arsenis, Burmariu, Walter
Pre-K East:  Ahn, Ferraro, Troy
Returning Families:  Au, Bull, DePeiza, Duff, Escaravage, Kelly, Khan, McNulty

Welcome to the World and to the GCNS Family!

Tristan James Sanchez was born 7/6/17, weighing 7lbs 12 oz and 19 ½ inches long.  Big Brother Cameron (Nursery West) was excited to welcome him home!

First Days
It is normal to be nervous as you send your little one out into the world.  But remember, you are giving your child a gift by teaching independence.  Starting school is an exciting time, but drop-off can be hectic and overwhelming.  Please don’t tell your child, “I’ll miss you” or “school is only for children.”  Be calm and thoughtful in both conversation and your demeanor.  There are short sessions for all children during the first week of school because of excitement and fatigue.New Children
Please plan to stay with your child until the teacher and director feel that he or she is ready for separation from you.  Even eager four year olds have qualms in a new situation.  It is our experience, that children make a more solid and lasting adjustment when parents serve as a bridge between home and school for the first few days.  To remind children that they will soon be staying alone is not necessary and only builds up anxiety which can slow their adjustment.Continuing Children
Parents of continuing children should be prepared to stay for a short time if the child experiences some anxiety about staying on his or her own.  Once the child is comfortable, please go into the classroom to fill out paper work which your class mother will provide.Helpful Reminders
Keep in mind that nursery school is about learning through play.  Many times, parents want to focus on getting children to read.  Doing puzzles, recognizing shapes, scribbling and tracing are all progressive steps on the ladder to reading and later school success.  If any of these important steps are missed, your child will certainly fall off the ladder.  We don’t expect a baby to walk before he learns to sit up, and then to crawl.  Therefore, we shouldn’t push children to read before their eyes, ears, fine motor skills, and minds are ready.  Learning through exploration, discovery and play, will allow your child to blossom in an organic way.  During the school year, please remember a few courtesies:
  • Feed your child before coming to school
  • Don’t send your child to school if he/she is not feeling well
  • Read your Parent Handbook (which will be sent out in September)
  • Notices and our Newsletters will contain important information for you and will be emailed to you by the class mother or GCNS.
  • Check you mailbox at dismissal for importance information.
  • Finally, please trust us. We have your child’s best interests in mind when we plan each day.
Welcome to a New School Year!
Staff Changes

Every year brings some changes. Gail Feldman, Barbara Mangi and Leah Pittoni have retired after assistant teaching at GCNS for many years. Additionally, due to family obligations, Nancy Kephart has resigned to accept a full time teaching position elsewhere.  We shall miss them but wish them well as they each pursue a new chapter in their lives.

We welcome new assistant teachers in Pre-K East and West.  Both Cris Kilberg and Danielle Lekanides are past parents who are familiar with our school’s cooperative philosophy, participating in the classroom, working on committees and maintenance.

Cris will be joining Pre-K East.  She is a corporate trainer who has been very active in the Garden City School District PTA, serving as president and committee chair for 15 years.  She is also a board member of HOLA of Garden City and volunteers at the Center for Transformative Change at the Mary Brennan INN.  Cris and her husband live in Garden City; they have 3 adult children (the youngest entering college).

Danielle Lekanides will be joining Pre-K West.  She is a certified Guidance Counselor with over 12 years experience working with school age children.  Danielle and her husband live in Garden City with their 3 children who attend GC schools.  Danielle is an active member of the Garden City PTA. 

Current staff have moved around to fill all classes.  In Nursery East, Emily Merle and Jen Gisolfi will be the assistant teachers.  Maureen McCartin will join Playgroup East with teacher Carolyn Hoera and assistant Christine O’Neill.

We are currently interviewing highly qualified candidates to fill the class sections that Nancy Kephart was slotted to teach in the fall.  They are New York State Certified Teachers and they understand and whole heartedly believe in our GCNS philosophy. We will announce a decision as soon as it has been made.

Attendance schedule for the first week of school
In order for our children to adjust easily, on Monday, Sept 11th and Tuesday, Sept 12theach Nursery and Pre-K group will be divided.  Playgroups will have shortened hour long sessions.Playgroups
Playgroup East: Monday & Thursday;  Regular Hours: 9:00 – 10:45am
Playgroup West: Tuesday & Friday;     Regular Hours:  9:00 – 10:45amFor the first week of school, children will have a shortened session, lasting one hour. During the following weeks, we will extend the time of each session as the children acclimate. Please be prepared to stay with your child (or have a family member or caregiver stay) until your child is comfortable with the staff.  We will be guiding you through the process.Nursery Classes
Nursery East:  Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday;  Regular Hours: 8:45 – 11:15amFor the first week of school, the children will attend during the below times for Tuesday, Sept 12th and Wednesday, Sept 13th. On Friday, Sept 15th the whole class will attend together, 8:45 – 10:45am.  The regular class schedule will begin Tuesday, Sept 19th.

8:45 – 9:55am                                                10:05 – 11:15am
Raymond Au                                                  Ezra King
John Fabilli                                                     Thomas Mirecki-Yazinsky
Ellie Houston                                                  Alexandra Morriello
Emma Matteini                                               Valerie Perry                                                      David McDermott                                           Gina Prisco
Rylan Mormile                                                Logan Saccoccio
Kyleigh Slevin                                                 Payton Torregrosa
Sophia Zimmerman                                        Isabella Torres

Nursery West:  Monday, Wednesday, Thursday;  Regular Hours:  8:45 – 11:15am

For the first week of school, the children will attend during the below times for Monday, Sept 11th and Wednesday, Sept 13th. On Thursday, Sept 14th the whole class will attend together, 8:45 – 10:45am. The regular class schedule begins on Monday, Sept 18th.

8:45 – 9:55am                                                  10:05 – 11:15am
Billy Arsenis                                                     Garrett Hannon
Mihai Brumariu                                                 Gemma Kelly
Naiya Cruz                                                       Hamza Khan
Jonnie DePeiza                                                Lucy Sorrentino
Juliet Macchia                                                  Kirin Surujbali
Riley Maciaszek                                               Violet Udik
Kai Martin                                                         Danielle Walter
Aiden Pisano                                                    Constantine Zografos
Cameron Sanchez                                           Pantelis Zografos

Pre-K Classes
For the first week of school, the children will attend during the below times for Monday, Sept 11th and Tuesday, Sept 12th. On Thursday, Sept 14th, each class will be in session from 11:45 – 1:45pm.  On Friday, Sept 15th, each group will be in session from 11:45 – 2:15pm.  Students will bring lunch beginning on Thursday, Sept. 14th. Regular class schedule begins on Monday, Sept 18th.Pre-K East:  Mon, Tues, Thurs, Fri; Regular Hours: 11:45 – 2:45pm (Fall Semester) & 11:45 – 3:45pm (Spring Semester)
Pre-K East will be using the West Playground two days a week.11:45 – 1:10pm (9/11 & 9/12)                              1:15 – 2:45pm (9/11 & 9/12)
Daniel Ahn                                                           Riley Bramwell
Katelynn Au                                                         Ryan DaSilva
Amari Beausoleil                                                 Augustine Ferraro
Kirby Garry                                                          James Hind
Pierce Hayes                                                       Brianna Katsavos
Caden Kmiotek                                                    Chase Katsavos
Jaxson McNulty                                                   Luke Katsavos
Will Sievers                                                          Leylin RuizPre-K West: Mon, Tues, Thurs, Fri; Regular Hours: 11:45 – 2:45pm (Fall Semester) & 11:45 – 3:45pm (Spring Semester)
Pre-K West will be using the East Playground two days a week.11:45 – 1:10pm (9/11 & 9/12)                              1:15 – 2:45pm (9/11 & 9/12)
Eli Bogatch                                                           Isabel Bou
Sofia Bonelli                                                         James Cassaro
Connor Dengler                                                    Alex Duff
Gabriella Ibrahim                                                  Madeline Eberle
Emmeline Moreno                                                Gauri Lashkery
Henry Mohan                                                        Liam Mehlman
Theodore Mirabella                                              Jack Mormile
Annabelle Troy                                                     Rocco Sbeglia
Jack Williams                                                       Felicia Pantano                                                                                                                         Brooke Stellato

Pre-K Children Bring Lunch Starting on Thursday, Sept 15th
Lunch should be in a lunchbox labeled with your child’s name.  Please send simple, healthy food that your child enjoys.  Three items such as a bagel/small sandwich or yogurt/string cheese, fruit or veggies, a few crackers are more than enough.  Have the children practice opening the lunchbox and containers. Pack utensils as needed.  Remember, we are a nut free and candy free school – therefore, no peanut butter sandwiches or candy.

Looking forward to a Great Year!
We look forward to seeing everyone in a few weeks.  Please do not hesitate to contact us by email should you have any questions before the start of school.
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