This post was written by Deb Hopkins, our Preschool 4s teacher.
Though I have to travel far
Each time you hear a sad guitar
Know that I’m with you the only way that I can be
Until you’re in my arms again
–Remember Me (Lullaby), from the movie “Coco”, Gael García Bernal, Libertad García Fonzi, …
Tata, Grandmothers Mary and Gerline, Grandma GG, Bigmom, Grandpa Pete, Mara Elizabeth Levenson (aka Nana) and beloved dogs named Tosia, Monty and Maya, were some of the people and pets remembered recently during the Pre4s annual observance of Día de los Muertos. At home, parents embraced the spirit of Day of the Dead as they reminisced with their preschoolers about family and pets, gathered photographs and recorded favorite memories with crayon and marker.
A bouquet of freshly-cut marigolds surrounded by a sea of flickering tea candles took center stage on the memory table. Twinkle lights framed the memory wall and strings of papel picado along with sparkly skulls made by students added to the magical quality of the Pre4s classroom last week. When parents arrived, children were gathered in front of the memory wall. We read a touching picture book by Alan Durant titled Always and Forever, then children stood, one by one, to talk about a grandmother, a grandfather, beloved aunt or a favorite pet. From Ella we learned about her Auntie Aeryn, a musician who played the violin in folk bands and classic concerts. “She passed away,” said Ella. “She loved parties, cakes and weddings.” Sebastian introduced us to Grandma Char, who worked in the foster care system, loved sweets and made the best sugar cookies during the holidays. “She liked to dance to candy songs,” he told us. Legend remembered his Great Grandpa Leo who lived to be 97 years old. Grandpa Leo was a farmer who loved the vegetables he grew, pulling them from the ground and eating them raw, even potatoes. Arlo learned about her maternal grandfather, Eduardo, who died before she was born. “Eduardo was a philosophical man, who loved his famly and was always learning in the journey of life.”
After serenading parents with the song Remember Me (Lullaby) from the movie Coco and a brief introduction by our Spanish teacher, Maestra Diane, the children escorted parents to tables. After decorating sugar skulls with a vivid array of frostings, manipulating the bendable skeletons and exploring the Día de los Muertos sensory bin,
parents shared their own stories about loved ones along with platters of food including picadillo, a mixture of rice, meat and black beans, cornbread, apples and peanut butter (a favorite of Oliver’s dog Tosia), cheese quesadillas, frosted sugar cookies as well as other dishes with personal and symbolic significance to families.
I thank you all for your contributions and for making the day so very special. I look forward to more opportunities to gather in the months ahead. Have a wonderful weekend.