The Growing Place Preschool · Heritage UMC
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.
  • Director

    Colleen Lastowski
  • Assistant Director

    Molly Garver

2019-2020 Registration

As of September 1, 2015 exemptions are no longer accepted.
All children enrolled must have current Immunization & Health forms
Registration for The Growing Place 2020-2021 school year will be:
2020 Enrollment Period Times For 2020 Due Date
February 3 - February 6 10:00 AM - 7:00 PM Church Members, Returning Families, & Active Military 2/7 by 2 PM
February 10 - February 13 10:00 AM - 7:00 PM All New Families 2/14 by 2 PM
Unless you are on the waitlist, please 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.
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 2019-2020 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.
  • One Year Olds
    • Tuesday & Wednesday, 9:05 AM - 11:50 AM - $175/month
    • Thursday & Friday, 9:05 AM - 11:50 AM - $175/month
  • Two Year Olds
    • Monday, Tuesday & Wednesday, 9:05 AM - 11:50 AM - $260/month
    • Thursday & Friday, 9:05 AM - 11:50 AM - $175/month
  • Three Year Olds
    • Monday, Tuesday & Wednesday, 9:00 AM - 12:00 PM - $260/month
    • Thursday & Friday, 9:00 AM - 12:00 PM - $175/month
    • Monday through Friday, 9:00 AM - 12:00 PM - $385/month**
       **Subject to change to a 3-day Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday class based on enrollment numbers.
  • Four Year Olds
    • Monday through Friday VPK, 9:00 AM - 12:30 PM - Free
    • Private Pay VPK: Monday through Friday, 9:00 AM - 12:30 PM - $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:

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.

As of September 1, 2015 exemptions are no longer accepted.
All children enrolled must have current Immunization & Health forms


*Annual **Semester Monthly   *** Supply Fee
Two Days $1502.20
(5% discount = $73.80)
(due August 1/January 1)
$164.00 Add $100 Supply Fee to August payment
Three Days $2,203.30
(5% discount = $110.70)
(due August 1/January 1)
$246.00 Add $100 Supply Fee to August payment
Five Days
(VPK Private Pay)
(5% discount = $180.00)
(due August 1/January 1)
$400.00 Add $100 Supply Fee to August payment
Five Days Traditional 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.

Withdrawl 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.

Tiny Tots

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.

Student Teacher Ratio
1 Year Olds 8 students per class 1 Teacher 1 Assistant
2 Year Olds 10 students per class 1 Teacher 1 Assistant

Tiny Tots Staff 2019-2020

  • Heather Joyce-Stevens, 1 yr olds
  • Lauren Lopez, 2 yr olds
  • Jana Wildridge, 2 yr olds
  • Melissa Main, 2 yr olds
  • Annie Engelman, 1 yr olds
  • Glicy Colby, 2 yr olds
  • Katie Sims, 2 yr olds
  • Kristin Baugher, 2 yr olds

Tiny Tots Schedule

Teachers Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Room #
Heater Joyce-Stevens(T), Annie Engelman(A) 1 yr 1 yr 1 yr 1 yr D119
Allison Thompson(T), Melissa Main(T) 2 yr 2 yr 2 yr D117
Melissa Main(T), Katie Sims(A) 2 yr 2 yr D117
Jana Wildridge(T), Kristin Baugher(A) 2 yr 2 yr 2 yr D115
Jana Wildridge(T), Glicy Colby(A) 2 yr 2 yr D115
Program Hours: 9:05 AM - 11:50 AM
Classes for 1 year olds Tuesday/Wednesday and Thursday/Friday 2 day classes
Classes for 2 year olds Monday/Tuesday/Wednesday or Thursday/Friday 2 and 3 day classes


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.

Student Teacher Ratio
3 Year Olds 15 students per class 1 Teacher 1 Assistant
4 Year Olds 17 students per class 1 Teacher 1 Assistant

Preschool Staff 2019-2020

  • Jessica Goble, 4 yr olds
  • Jill Whitney, 4 yr olds
  • Rachel Lee, 4 yr olds
  • Eileen Hermann, 3 yr olds
  • Elaine Pepi, 3 yr olds
  • Stephanie Strelcheck, 3 yr olds
  • Melora Bacchus, 3 yr olds
  • Jennifer Luck, 4 yr olds
  • Alicia Hoskins, 4 yr olds
  • Melissa Young, 4 yr olds
  • Karolina Wiak, 3 yr olds
  • Jessica Schemenaur, 3 yr olds
  • Glicy Golby, 3 yr olds
Director: Colleen Lastowski
Assistant Director: Molly Garver
Music: Kim Wilmas
Office Assistant: Tara Casey
Financial Assistant: Elaine Pepi

Preschool Schedule

Teachers Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Room #
Elaine Pepi(T)/Eileen Hermann(T) 3 yr 3 yr 3 yr D124
Eileen Hermann(T), Jessica Schemenaur(A) 3 yr 3 yr D124
Stephanie Strelcheck(T), Karolina Wiak(A) 3 yr 3 yr 3 yr 3 yr 3 yr D128
Melora Bacchus(T), Glicy Colby(A) 3 yr 3 yr 3 yr D132
Rachel Lee/Missy Young VPK VPK VPK VPK VPK D140
Jessica Goble/Jennifer Luck VPK VPK VPK VPK VPK D122
Jill Whitney/Alicia Hoskins VPK VPK VPK VPK VPK D138

2019-2020 Calendar

Wednesday, August 21 Parent Orientation
Thursday, August 22 Children’s Open House
Monday, August 26 First Day of School
Monday, September 2 Labor Day – No School
Monday, October 14 Prof. Dev. Day - No School
Friday, October 25 Conferences - No School
Monday, November 25 – Friday, November 29 Thanksgiving Holidays
Wednesday, December 18 & Friday, December 20 Family Christmas Parties & Shortened Day for Students
Monday, December 23 - Friday, January 3 Christmas Holidays
Monday, January 6 Prof. Dev. Day – No School
Tuesday, January 7 School Reopens
Monday, January 20 MLK Day – No School
Monday, February 17 Prof. Dev. Day – No School
Monday, March 9 Conferences – No School
Monday, March 16 – Friday, March 20 Spring Break – No School
Monday, March 23 Prof. Dev. Day – No School
Tuesday, March 24 School Reopens
Friday, April 10 Good Friday – No School
Monday, April 13 Easter Monday – No School
Friday, May 8 Last Day of School

Hurricane make-up days (if necessary)

1 Day 2 Days 3 Days 4 Days
Oct. 14, 2019 Oct. 14, 2019 Oct. 14, 2019 Oct. 14, 2019
Jan. 6, 2019 Jan. 6, 2019 Nov. 25, 2019
Mar. 23, 2020 Nov. 26, 2019
Jan. 6, 2020

Frequently Asked Questions

Our Policies

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. Please 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.

As of September 1, 2015 exemptions are no longer accepted.
All children enrolled must have current Immunization & Health forms

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, 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 positive reinforcement. 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.

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 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.

General Questions

We start later and end earlier than Pinellas County Schools for two reasons. The first reason is that The Growing Place staff is given an opportunity to be there for their own children as they begin school and to be able to participate in their end of the year activities as well. The second reason is that because we provide VPK during the school year, our calendar must be limited to 540 clock hours.

Professional Development days are when The Growing Place staff is completing the annual training that is required by The Pinellas County Licensing Board. This insures that the teachers and assistants in your child’s classroom are constantly learning new techniques to enhance the way your child is taught. The Growing Place preschool has the same Professional Development days as Pinellas County Schools.

We sent home a parent survey at the end of the school year and based on your responses, parents agree this is the fastest and safest way to dismiss a large group of children at one time. It is also good practice for when your child starts elementary school.

We stagger the drop off times to allow families with siblings to be able to drop off older children first. The early pick up time for the one and two year olds allows our youngest children to get to and from their classes with fewer people in the hallway. It also prevents Tiny Tot parents from getting caught in our three year old carline.

Tuition is broken down into nine monthly payments and is due at the beginning of each month beginning on August 1 and ending with the April 1 tuition payment. Tuition is paid a month in advance. For example, in August you pay for September and in September you will pay for October. The only exception to this payment schedule is if a family joins us later in the school year, in which case they will make a May 1 tuition payment.

If your child does not attend school on the first of each month, you are still responsible for tuition. You will need to mail your tuition payment or stop by the preschool office to make a payment. Please be aware that tuition received after the fifth of each month is considered a late payment and will be assessed a $25 late fee.

Letters are sent out in the middle of August to notify parents who will be their child’s teacher and to let parents know about important dates and items needed for the beginning of school.

Potty training is a milestone that requires time and patience. Please be aware that children are required to be fully potty trained to enter our three year old program at The Growing Place Preschool. While we recognize starting school is an adjustment for children, it is difficult to keep the classroom a safe and sanitary environment when toileting accidents happen.

What does being fully potty trained mean? A child is not in pull ups or diapers. He or she recognizes and communicates the need to use the bathroom. The child is consistently using the potty and going multiple days at home without having an accident. He or she is able to attend the entire school day without having an accident. Finally, they are able to wipe themselves, flush the toilet and wash their hands once they have completed using the restroom.

As a parent, you can help by dressing your child in beltless and or elastic waist clothing. This makes it easier for your child to be successful in using the restroom.

By following these guidelines, we hope to make potty training a positive and successful experience for your child. Thank you for your cooperation.

Parents may put their child on a waitlist once a class has been filled during Registration. Parents may also add their child to the waitlist during the school year. Once the preschool is notified of an opening the Director or the Assistant Director will call the first person on the waitlist. Parents will be given 24 hours to accept or decline the spot. This procedure continues until the spot is filled. Please note that once classes begin a child that is currently enrolled will not be moved to another class, even if they were on the waitlist.

We feel that children adapt to the classroom environment sooner when their classes meet back to back. By attending consecutive days children are provided with the consistency that they need to help them establish a regular routine and to develop friendships. The children become more familiar with the classroom and what is expected of them. The teachers are able to build on the curriculum while it is still relevant to the child, allowing for easier retention. In addition, it helps to lay a foundation for what will be expected of them in the years to come.

Our program was designed to meet the needs of families that are specifically looking to enroll their child in a half-day Christian program. We are periodically asked why we do not offer a full-time program. Parent surveys, tours and phone calls consistently confirm that the families that we serve chose us because we are one of the few places that continue to offer part-time. Therefore, our new building was built and licensed with that in mind.

The main difference between a day care center and a preschool are the hours that the children attend. Day Care Centers usually care for children on a full-time/daily basis. Preschools typically care for children on a part-time/half day basis. In addition, the focus in preschools is on educational experiences that are combined with socialization and play.


Periodically The Growing Place has openings for employment, if we do we will list them here. Additionally if you'd like to apply for a position so that we can keep you in mind for the future, you can download our Employment Application and Employment History documents and turn them in at our office, or by emailing at your convience.

We currently have no open employment oppurtunities. Please check back.