Vina Pre-K lead teacher Shea Miller knew she wanted to take the opportunity during the Christmas season to teach her 4-year-olds how to have giving hearts. She hit upon the idea of presenting gifts to the residents at Generations of Red Bay, instead of exchanging gifts among themselves.
“We always have a Christmas party in our classroom, so this year instead of exchanging names, I asked the students to bring teddy bears for the residents of the nursing home,” Miller said. “I wanted them to get a sense of how it felt to be part of the community, to help others. They get plenty at Christmastime. I wanted them to be able to give to someone else.”
Last week, the preschoolers made their way to Generations of Red Bay to donate their teddy bears and other stuffed animals – but not without a little fanfare. Generations Activities Director Pam Gray suggested turning the donation into a parade.
“I’ve seen it done before and actually did it before when I worked in assisted living,” said Gray. She said she knew the residents would enjoy the spectacle.
The Pre-K teachers and students made “floats” for their stuffed animals out of cardboard boxes and milk crates bedazzled with everything from sparkly pipe cleaners and ribbon to stickers and die cut stars. They then paraded among two different groups of Generations residents, tugging their floats and ending with a performance of tunes and rhymes such as Humpty Dumpty, This Little Light of Mine and Little Boy Blue.
“We just made it festive,” Miller said. “We’ve talked a lot about what it meant to give … Of course when they went and got their teddy bears, they wanted to keep them, so we talked a lot, different times as the date approached. We had it on our calendar, and we counted down the days and talked about what it meant to give to others, how it would make them happy for us to sing to them and bring them a present. So they have been very excited.”
Jason Vinson with Piggly Wiggly donated balloons as a little reward for the giving preschoolers.