Archive for Tuesday, November 26, 2002

Students learn meaning of holiday

November 26, 2002

Most Americans grasp the concept of the Thanksgiving holiday. But try explaining about the Pilgrims and being thankful to a bunch of 4-year-olds.

"They don't know anything about Thanksgiving," Heather Wallsmith, Y.E.S. pre-school teacher, said.

So, in preparation for Thanksgiving, the Y.E.S. classes at Marion Springs Elementary School have spent the last several days learning about the Pilgrims' trip to America, freedom and what being thankful actually means.

"I think even at 4, they understand a little bit about it," Wallsmith said.

In order to understand the history of the holiday a little better, the pre-schoolers did a lot of role playing. The students will even perform a short play for their parents and second-grade book buddies at MSES today that depicts the meeting of William Bradford and Squanto.

"They're real serious about it and they're very excited," she said. "They think it's really neat to be able to do this."

Wallsmith said she thought it was important the students, even at 4 years old, know there is more about Thanksgiving than just a lot of food.

"I just feel like kids, the older they get, the less thankful they get," she said.

"I want them to be thankful for the little things, the small things that happen in their lives," she said. "This is to help them learn to be appreciative of things they have and show their appreciation to other people."

Along with the history of the Pilgrims' trip to America, the students also spent time learning how to make Thanksgiving dinner, which Wallsmith said generated some interesting answers.

"That's the coolest part about the whole thing," she said. "It's all new to them."

It was also news to the students that America is the only country that celebrates the November holiday.

"That was a really big issue with them," she said.

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