On October 28th, we celebrated our fall festival. We pride ourselves on providing family activities throughout the year. Our families also participate in a spring and summer festival. Sorry folks, we do not have a winter festival because of the weather, but we have plenty of other activities throughout the year. We will be hosting a family Thanksgiving dinner for our students and their families, and of course, we cannot forget about the upcoming Conifer Christmas parade and Christmas party. More to come on these celebrations.
Our fall festival is such a special event. Fall is a time that marks change. According to John Keats, a famous English poet, it is a “season of mists and mellow fruitfulness”. Fall is known for its cooler temperatures, beautiful colors, harvest times, and longer nights. What better way to celebrate the beauty and bounty of this season than to offer a fall festival. We have had this celebration every year since our opening in 2019. It has become a staple in our annual events.
As our school has evolved and continues to evolve, so does our celebration. This festival is a celebration of our children; their achievements, triumphs, hard work, and growth. It is a merriment that recognizes the special traits and characteristics that individualize and make each child special.
What better way to acknowledge the distinctiveness and progression of each child. We simply must have a party. But our children would not have the advances in social and emotional learning (SEL), academics, basic life skills, and collaborative play without the support of our parents and families. So, it is only fitting that we include everyone in our celebration. We encourage parents, grandparents, siblings, and anyone special to the child to attend. Our doors are open to everyone. Our school’s foundation depends on the support and encouragement we receive from our parents and families. We work together as a team to bring a common goal to fruition. We want our students to be good human-beings, critically and independently think, problem-solve, and to be part of the solution, not the problem. We want them to find happiness and joy despite the challenges they will face in the future. Our school prepares them for that. There is so much more. But it takes a team effort. And we can honestly say that every parent and grandparent in our school contributes to that team effort.
This year, our Fall Festival was blessed with beautiful weather. We offered an array of activities that made the day fun and exciting. We started by getting the children into their costumes. We offered hayrides to our families and children as well as the roasting of green chiles. It was one of the highlights of the day. One of our parents donated a skull pinata. Each child got to hit that pinata until the ultimate prize “exploded” all over the ground, the candy. Watching the excitement and eagerness on each child’s face was a true treat as every child wildly picked up the candy to add to their Halloween collection. We had our own version of “Trick or Treat”. We numbered different destinations throughout our large and beautiful playground. We then called out a number and had the children show us how many fingers that number was (every opportunity to get some learning in while having fun is what this school is about). They then ran to the destinations to collect their treats. Parents were waiting to hand out the candy. We have never seen them run so fast as they hastily made their way to sweetness. Of course, this celebration would not be complete without the potluck. We offered the children grilled hamburgers and hotdogs along with mac and cheese and other appetizers. They had their chips and finally some great Halloween cookies provided by a spectacular parent whose baking is out of this world. She is always feeding our children and parents wonderful Polish foods and deserts. We are so spoiled. Parents got to enjoy a variety of foods. They sat and conversed with each other as they watched their children play. A true family. Our students were exhausted at the end of the day. But it was a “good” fatigue. They ran, played hard, and had so much fun. That is what this school is all about.
At the end of the day as my husband and I were cleaning, we looked at each other in amazement. Another year has come and gone. Where did the time go? We reflected on this year as it starts to come to a close. We were in awe. Our children have learned so much. Our kids are problem-solving and coming up with solutions. They are self-regulating as they are bombarded with emotions and feelings. They are using their words to identify how they are feeling. They are learning patience, understanding, and respect. They are learning to use their senses to identify experiences and follow through with appropriate behaviors. They are learning to get along with each other, to share and work together as a team as they play and do activities together. They are learning kindness, compassion, and empathy as they help each other toward a common goal. They are learning to use their words wisely, to understand that words can hurt. They are learning to think about what they say before they say it. And the icing on the cake is that our kids are learning academics if they are ready (most of our kids are). If they are not, it is O.K. We are patient, and when they are ready, we begin. Most of our 3- 4- and 5-year-olds are reading and writing. They are doing addition, subtraction, fractions, number lines, positive and negative numbers. There is so much more. This is only the beginning. And what we are seeing is that when they are ready, this material comes easy to them. Is there effort on the part of the student? Of course, but once it is taught, it becomes second nature. And that is the beauty of how we teach. We facilitate. We spend the time, we show them, we sit with them and work with them until they understand. And then we watch the magic happen. Our children are taking off in ways unimaginable. Watch out, the sky is the limit.
In summary, fall is about fruition, the bounties of our harvest. It is so much more than just another change of season. It is a time when things are coming to an end. It is also a time when the seeds of plantation are again beginning their new journey as they fall to the ground. We spent the year planting the seeds. We cultivated them and watched them grow. We nourished and sustained them. Now we are seeing the fruits of our labor, the results. And they are blowing us, our parents, and the community away. Watch out, this is only the beginning. Remember, each phase of a child’s life is truly miraculous. Let’s celebrate every moment.