General Policies

Accountability (Homework & Quizzes)

Children “learn” religion through experience; particularly by watching and imitating those they love best. Faith is something that is “caught” rather than “taught”. Classroom learning informs, gives data, and reinforces what the children should be experiencing.

Homework and quizzes are meaningful activities if they supplement or reinforce work done in the classroom. There will be times during the year when your child’s Catechist will assign supplemental work that will need your supervision. In addition, parents of children in all grades are asked to teach their children the prayers assigned to each level (see “Curriculum”). At the discretion of the Catechist and Administration, a student may not be allowed to continue to the next level if he/she has not completed assigned work and memorized prayers.

ACRE – Assessment of Catechesis / Religious Education

In Levels 5 and 7, ACRE is administered to the students in March. This assessment is used to evaluate the faith knowledge and attitudes of our PREP students.


Students are asked to be presentable and moderately dressed when they come to PREP class. We ask that for safety reasons, children not wear “heely’s” skate shoes.


Jesus has asked us to love God and love our neighbor as ourselves. As we all strive to follow Jesus, we will be aware of showing respect and courtesy to each other. Parents, your encouragement and cooperation are expected in helping your children to live God’s law of love in the classroom. For students who have a problem with classroom behavior or attendance, home study may be the solution. This would require the parent to work with the child at home, while reporting on the child’s progress to our office.

Any student who is unwilling to cooperate with the “Student Code of Behavior” will be asked to withdraw from the Religious Education Program. Parents are expected to sign a contract on the registration form each year promising to follow the handbook and student code of behavior.

Student Code of Behavior

  • Students are expected to attend Mass every Sunday.
  • Students are expected to show respect for all persons in words and actions.
  • Students must conform to the attendance policy stated in the handbook.
  • Students should comply with the classroom rules set out by their Catechist in the interest of providing a good learning environment.
  • Students must do nothing that could cause physical harm to themselves or to another.
  • Students must not destroy, deface or remove property from the building.
  • Students are responsible for completing all in-class and homework assignments to the best of their ability and according to the time schedule provided.
  • Students who exhibit any inappropriate behavior (in the judgment of the Administration) will be asked to withdraw from the program.


Each child receives a calendar of the year’s schedule and activities. Please post these calendars in a prominent place at home. The calendar should also be consulted in case of absence, so that the parent can review the work missed.

Cell Phones

Students are not permitted to use cell phones or other electronic devices during PREP (from the time they enter the building until the time they leave the building.) Cell phones must be turned OFF and kept out of sight for the entire duration of all PREP classes and activities. Violation of these rules will result in forfeiting the privilege of bringing them to PREP.

Change of Address or Phone

Please notify the PREP office immediately if you should have a change of address or telephone number. You may request a transcript if you are moving out of the parish.

Child Abuse Policy

New Jersey State Statutes require that the Division of Youth and Family Services (DYFS) be notified immediately if a Catechist and/or Director of Religious Education suspects that a child has been abused.


In cases where the custody of our students has been restricted by the courts, a copy of the court document MUST BE ON FILE IN OUR OFFICE. St. Thomas PREP abides by the provisions of the Buckley Amendment. Thus, non-custodial parents will be given access to academic records and to information regarding the academic progress of their children, unless there is a court order specifically stating that the non-custodial parent is denied access to such information.

Fire / Evacuation / Lock-down Drills

These drills will be conducted during the year to insure the safety of our students. In the event of an actual emergency, children will be taken to a pre-arranged evacuation area.

Food Allergies

Food allergies are a growing health concern for children across the country. Even a minuscule amount of the allergenic food is sufficient to cause a life-threatening reaction and inadvertent contact (via nose, eyes, mouth) can be sufficient to put a child in danger.

It is the goal of St. Thomas PREP to provide an allergen-free environment for children with food allergies, so that they may enjoy a safe and respectful place to grow in their faith.

Recognizing that strict avoidance of the allergen is the only way to prevent a potentially life-threatening reaction, we ask your cooperation with the following policy: NO FOOD AND DRINK OF ANY KIND WILL BE PERMITTED IN ST. THOMAS SCHOOL DURING PREP CLASSES. This also includes all foods that are considered to be safe. Parents and/or guardians of highly allergic children MUST alert the special needs of their child to the Parish Catechetical Leader, catechist and nurse, so that all precautions can be taken.

Illegal Substances & Weapons

Drugs, alcohol, tobacco and weapons of any kind are not allowed on Church property. If a student is found to be in possession, the student will be detained until the police are notified.

Progress Repors

Progress Reports are distributed in January and at the end of the PREP year. It is a good policy to discuss the report with your child. Progress Reports MUST BE SIGNED by the parent and returned to PREP the following week.


Our parish program serves 850 children yearly and all of our Catechists, aides and helpers are volunteers. We are so grateful to them for their dedication, time and preparation they give to this ministry.

Are YOU interested in volunteering? Please consider volunteering as a: Catechist / Classroom Aide / Office Aide / Parent Volunteer / or Babysitter

We provide babysitting for pre-school children of our Catechists and Aides. Just call the PREP Office at 732-251-1660.

Please note just like in the public school system, the Diocese of Metuchen requires fingerprinting and background checks for all those over age 18 who regularly come in contact with minors.