Two days prior to Thanksgiving, a local school not only learned about the holiday, but to give thanks for all they have.
On Tuesday, November 25, St. Lucy’s School’s Universal Pre-K Program held a Thanksgiving Feast celebration in the school’s cafeteria.
The young students were dressed up as Pilgrims and Native Americans for the event which is part of Mayor Bill DeBlasio’s initiative of learning through play, according to Linda Minneci, assistant principal at St. Lucy’s School.
“The pre-K students are having a traditional Thanksgiving Feast set up downstairs today as part of the Mayor’s initiative,” explained Minneci.
“Some of the students are dressed up as Native Americans, which they’ve been speaking about in class and some of them are Pilgrims. They were able to choose what they wanted to be and they’re dressed in headdresses for the Native Americans and Pilgrim hats and vests for the settlers,” she said.
Although Universal Pre-K may be a more recent creation, this feast is not.
“We’ve had this event even before we had the universal pre-K program here,” revealed Minneci. “We’ve done this yearly with our nursery, pre-kindergarten, and kindergarten classes. They love this event. They’re very excited and they’ve been learning about different types of transportation the Native Americans and Pilgrims used and their cultures.”
“We figured this year since UPK is new to us, we wanted to show them what exactly St. Lucy’s School is all about,” divulged Jane Stefanini, principal at St. Lucy’s School. “It’s an introduction to have them see what our culture is here, our environment, and getting the parents involved is very important to us.”
The costumed students dined with their friends, teachers, faculty, and parents while embracing the message behind this season of giving thanks.
This year’s feast included dessert brought in by parents and featured turkey, cranberry sauce, and other traditional Thanksgiving fixings all provided by teachers from St. Lucy’s School.
Stefanini revealed that the teachers have collaborated together for this yearly event and reached out to the students’ parents for participation.
“We’ve been preparing for this for about two weeks and it’s been a very exciting time for them,” expressed Jaclyn Dimperio, UPK teacher.
“This is my first year teaching, so this is all very exciting for me, too. This event was a work-in-progress and it has come along very well. Our parents have been very helpful and they have donated food for this feast which was very helpful. Our principal and assistant principal have also been very supportive about anything we wanted to do and it has been a really great experience for everyone at St. Lucy’s,” she said.
Teachers and students came together to learn more about the Native American and settlers’ differing cultures and varying means of transportation.
Dimperio revealed that she helped braid her female students’ hair and applied their ceremonial face paint for them to get more into their Native American character.
“They’re learning a lot of their skills from what they were working on,” said Minneci. “One of those items they had to learn was how to work on patterns and it’s through what they make whether it’s the headdresses or necklaces the Native Americans wore, they are learning a lot through these activities.”
The Thanksgiving Feast is one of the many activities conducted at St. Lucy’s School which is designed to engage the children on a whole new level of learning, according to Stefanini.
“It’s amazing to be here at this event today and I love what I do here everyday,” she expressed. “I’m always excited to come here to work and each little event we do has become a huge project for me. My class is very into it and so, too are all of the other classes here today.”