The Growing Place Preschool

Mission Statement

The goal of The Growing Place Preschool of Heritage United Methodist Church is to teach children to know Jesus through a personal relationship with Him. We strive to teach children to love as Jesus loves and to develop compassion for those around them. We stress the importance of diversity in activities as well as teaching styles in order to reach each child at his or her level of ability and understanding, preparing them socially, physically and academically for the next step. It is our responsibility to nurture these children and their families as they grow spiritually, so they can live for Jesus in our community and in our world today.


Our Vision

Growing in God’s Love

The PTC Meeting dates are:

TIME: 9-9:30 am, Monthly coffee socials in the Atrium

The PTC Executive Board Meeting dates are:

TIME: 12:30-2 pm; 2nd Tuesday of Sept, Nov, Jan, Mar and May


The National Association for the Education of Young Children (naeyc) and Golden Seal through the State of Florida.


. Email-Logo Contact us by email.

Dear Parents, The Growing Place will be using an online registration for the 2017-2018 school year. Please check our website often for registration information.


>>>>>  REGISTER HERE  <<<<<


  1. Registration for The Growing Place 2018-2019 school year will be:
    2018 Enrollment PeriodTimesFor2018 Due Date
    February 5 - February 810:00 a.m. - 7:00 p.m.Church Members, Returning Families, & Active MilitaryFebruary 9
    February 12 - February 1510:00 a.m. - 7:00 p.m.All New FamiliesFebruary 16
  2. Note: If you are on the wait-list, do not do #3.
  3. Print a copy of your Enrollment Forms and return them along with a check for $100 (non-refundable Registration Fee $75 for additional siblings) made payable to Heritage United Methodist Church by the date above. Please be aware that registering your child online is only a reservation. This reservation will be confirmed when the completed forms and fees are returned by their due date. .

NOTE: Voluntary Pre-Kindergarten (VPK) students do not pay a Registration Fee. Parents are responsible for returning the Enrollment Forms and a Certificate of Eligibility (COE) from the Early Learning Coalition of Pinellas County Office to the preschool by the above date.   VPK applications are now being accepted through the online VPK system only. Eligible families are encouraged to go online, at any time to complete their 2018-2019 Fall VPK applications at Parents must also upload supporting documents (proof of residency and proof of child’s age) online to receive a Certificate of Eligibility.


Registration Categories

  • One Year Olds
    • Tuesday & Wednesday     9:05 a.m. – 11:50 a.m.: $164/month
    • Thursday & Friday     9:05 a.m. – 11:50 a.m.: $164/month


  • Two Year Olds
    • Monday, Tuesday & Wednesday     9:05 a.m. – 11:50 a.m.: $246/month
    • Thursday & Friday     9:05 a.m. – 11:50 a.m.: $164/month


  • Three Year Olds
    • Monday, Tuesday & Wednesday     9:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.: $246/month
    • Thursday & Friday     9:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.: $164/month
    • Monday through Friday     9:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.: $365/month **
      **Subject to change to a 3 day MTW class based on enrollment numbers**


  • Four Year Olds(VPK)
    • Monday thru Friday      9:00 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.: Free
    • Private Pay VPK: Monday thru Friday     9:00 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.: $400/month


If the class you are requesting is full, please call the preschool office at 727.479.0420 to be placed on the wait-list. Required Registration Forms (Adobe PDF format)

Every line on the Enrollment Form must be filled out completely. Leaving blank spaces or writing “same as above” will delay your child’s enrollment. If your child does not have a dentist, please fill in that space with your child’s pediatrician’s name and address.

Current school physical & immunization records on HRS forms will be due in August.

We are thrilled that you have chosen to enroll your child at The Growing Place Preschool and we are looking forward to a wonderful school year.

 *Annual**SemesterMonth*** Supply Fee
Two Days$1502.20
(5% discount = $73.80)
(due August 1/January 1)
$164.00Please add $100 Supply Fee to August payment
Three Days$2,203.30
(5% discount = $110.70)
(due August 1/January 1)
$246.00Please add $100 Supply Fee to August payment
Five Days
(VPK Private Pay)
(5% discount = $180.00)
(due August 1/January 1)
$400.00Please add $100 Supply Fee to August payment
Five DaysTraditional VPK is FREE
No Supply Fee for Traditional VPK

*Annual payment amount already includes 5% discount AND the supply fee.


**First semester payment amount includes supply fee.


***Supply Fees MUST BE PAID with August payment.   Please include your email address with your August payment.   You will receive monthly Tuition Statements via email, which will also serve as a reminder when tuition is due.


If you are making monthly payments, there will be nine (9) monthly payments, beginning on August 1 and continuing through April 1. You are always paying a month ahead, so your last payment will be due April 1, and you will not make a payment in May.   Please realize that you will need to mail your August payment.   Your September payment will be due the first week of school, NO LATER THAN the 5th!   Payment is always due on the first and late after the fifth of the month. Any payments postmarked after the fifth will incur a $25 late fee.


Withdrawal Policy

If your plans change with regard to your child’s attendance at The Growing Place, please let us know as soon as possible. This would greatly benefit another child and parent. Your first tuition payment, due August 1, will be refunded to you if you notify The Growing Place Director, Colleen Lastowski, in writing on or before September 1. If it is necessary to withdraw your child between September 1st and the end of the school year, you must provide 30 day written notice and are responsible for that month’s tuition. All prepaid tuition will be refunded upon receipt of written 30 day notice.

Student Teach Ratio   
1 Year Olds8 students per class2 Year Olds 10 students per class
1 Teacher1 Teacher
1 Assistant1 Assistant
Our primary goal for our Tiny Tots is to develop a love for God, their families and their playmates. We want to help the children become aware of and have an interested in the world around them through hands on activities. We will work to help the children develop their vocabulary and feel at ease expressing themselves in the group. It is our primary desire that each child enjoy creative activities that will help him/her develop spiritually, physically and emotionally. The teacher and her assistant are responsible for preparing activities and curriculum to meet the needs of each child. The Growing Place has an assistant for each class in our program.

The Tiny Tots Staff 2017-2018

  • Colleen Lastowski, Director of The Growing Place
  • Stephanie Strelcheck, Assistant Director

    • Heather Joyce-Stevens  – 1 year olds
    • Lauren Lopez – 2 year olds
    • Kylie Shrum – 2 year olds
    • Melissa Young – 2 year olds
  • Assistants:
    • Annie Engelman- 1 year olds
    • Robin Davis – 2 year olds
    • Jana Wildridge – 2 year olds
    • Glicy Colby – 2 year olds

The Tiny Tots Schedule

1 year old: 9:05 am – 11:50 am.    2 year old 9:05 am – 11:50 am. 

TeachersMondayTuesdayWednesdayThursdayFridayRoom #
Heather Joyce-Stevens/Annie Engelman1 yr1 yr1yr1 yrD119
Lauren Lopez/Jana Wildridge2 yr2 yr2 yr2 yr2 yrD115
Kylie Shrum/Robin Davis2 yr2 yr2 yrD117
Melissa Young/Gilcy Colby2 yr2 yrD117
Program Hours: 9:05 a.m. – 11:50 a.m. 
Classes for 1 Year OldsTuesday/Wednesday and Thursday/Friday2 and 1 day classes
Classes for 2 Year OldsMonday/Tuesday/Wednesday or Thursday/Friday2 and 3 day classes

Student / Teacher Ratios  

Student Teach Ratio   
3 Year Olds15 students per class4 Year Olds 17 students per class
1 Teacher1 Teacher
1 Assistant1 Assistant

The Preschool Staff 2017-2018

  • Colleen Lastowski, Director of The Growing Place
  • Stephanie Strelcheck, Assistant Director
  • Teachers:
    • Jessica Goble – 4 year olds
    • Jill Whitney – 4 year olds
    • Heidi Laurent 4 year olds
    • Eileen Hermann – 3 year olds
    • Elaine Pepi – 3 year olds
    • Kristin Baugher – 3 year olds
  • Teacher Assistants:
    • Christina Ussia – 4 year olds
    • Tara Casey – 4 year olds
    • Alicia Hoskins – 4 year olds
    • Glicer Colby – 3 year olds
    • Carolyn Emrich – 3 year olds
  • Lunch Bunch Coordinator
    • Stephanie Strelcheck
  • Music:
    • Kimberly Wilmas
  • Financial Assistant:
    • Elaine Pepi

Preschool Schedule

9:00 a.m. – 12:00 a.m.  3 years old 9:00 a.m. – 12:30 a.m.  VPK only

TeachersMondayTuesdayWednesdayThursdayFridayRoom #
Pepi/Hermann3 yr3 yr3 yrD124
Hermann/Emrich3 yr3 yrD124
Baugher/Colby3 yr3 yr3 yrD128

Wednesday, September 13No Lunch Bunch - Staff Meeting
Monday, October 16Prof. Dev. Day – No School
Friday, October 27Conferences – No School
Tuesday, November 7No Lunch Bunch – Staff Meeting
Monday, November 20 – Friday, November 24Thanksgiving Holidays – No School
Wednesday, December 20 & Friday, December 22Family Christmas Parties & Shortened Day for Students
Monday, December 25 – Monday, January 8Christmas Holidays – No School
Tuesday, January 9School Reopens
Monday, January 15MLK Day – No School
Tuesday, February 6No Lunch Bunch - staff meeting
Monday, February 19Prof. Dev. Day – No School
Wednesday, February 28Conferences – No School
Monday, March 12Prof. Dev. Day – No School
Monday, March 26 – Monday, April 2Spring Break – No School
Tuesday, April 3School Reopens
Wednesday, April 11No Lunch Bunch – Staff Meeting
Friday, May 18Last Day of School

Health Policy

Dress your child in: clothes suitable for art, playground, tumbling, etc. that are simple, study, safe, not too tight, and easy to manage. (Label jackets and sweaters.) Pull-Ups are not allowed. Children in 3’s and VPK must be fully toilet trained. Please make sure that shoes are the right size, safe for climbing activities, no clogs, flip flops, or boots.   Keep your child home when he/she has:

  • Runny nose
  • Sore throat
  • Rash
  • Chronic cough
  • A fever or chills
  • Inflamed eyes
  • Diarrhea
  • New Medication
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Open sores
  • Impetigo
  • Head lice
  • Earache

Your child must be free of the above symptoms for 24 hours before returning to school. If your child has a doctor’s appointment due to a chronic symptom or condition, please keep your child at home that morning until the doctor can make an assessment. These guidelines are in place for your child’s good health, as well as that of the teacher and other children in the classroom. If your child is not well enough to participate in class activities and those on the playground, please keep your child at home.

Discipline Policy

The ultimate goal of our discipline policy is to promote healthy self-esteem in each child.   We do this by:

  • Providing a loving Christian atmosphere for students and staff.
  • Building a positive attitude toward God, self, others and school.
  • Encouraging parental involvement.
  • Setting clear expectations for behavior.
  • We will not allow children to hurt themselves, others or destroy property.

Our purpose is to use natural consequences, redirection, and as a last resort, a brief time-out. If a child’s behavior becomes a challenge in the classroom, a parent-teacher conference will be requested. A plan of cooperation will be formulated at this time to correct the challenging behavior. In the event of an ongoing problem, The Growing Place Director and the Director of Children’s Ministry will confer with the teacher and parents to develop a plan appropriate for the particular child. If the team of adults feels more professional help may be warranted, an Early Childhood Specialist for the Pinellas County License Board will be consulted. This consultation will require written agreement from the parents, teacher, Director of The Growing Place, and Director of Children’s Ministry.

Classroom Snacks

Due to new Health Department guidelines, home prepared food items, from staff and parents, intended for distribution among the children, are prohibited. Therefore, snacks must be delivered in original, unopened, store bought packages.

Some nutritious snack ideas:

  • pretzels
  • cheese crackers
  • raisins
  • goldfish crackers
  • graham crackers

NOTE: When bringing “Treat bags” for birthdays or holiday class parties, please do not include gum, small hard candy or bags of nuts.


You may send in a special treat for your child’s birthday. Please discuss your plans with your child’s teacher prior to their birthday. Please DO NOT send in cakes or cupcakes. (They are too messy.) May we suggest cookies, ice cream in individual cups or popsicles. Please do not send invitations to parties via school, unless every classmate is being invited. Summer birthdays will be celebrated prior to the end of the school year.

[qa cat=growing-place-faqs]

Families often ask what they can donate to the preschool and or their child’s classroom. Here is a list of items that are always needed throughout the school year:


  • Tissues
  • Lysol or Clorox wipes
  • Post-It notes
  • Sharpies
  • Expo markers
  • Paper Towels
  • Glue Sticks