Kids get an early start on holiday |

Kids get an early start on holiday

John HartPre-schooler Andrew Pardini (left) and second-grader and helping buddy Katherine McGill are busy at work at Mount St. Mary's preschool in Grass Valley.
ALL | GrassValleyArchive

Joseph Peterson was dressed to feast Tuesday.

The four-year-old Mount St. Mary’s preschooler sat at a classroom table in pilgrim garb; a black paper hat with a large paper yellow buckle on the front and a large square white paper collar.

“He calls me ‘Joe,'” young Master Peterson said about his older buddy, seven-year-old Robbie Merchant, who was sitting next to him.

“It’s on crooked!” Robbie said as he straightened Joe’s hat.

Second-graders brought food for preschoolers that colonial-era American Indians might have brought to the first Thanksgiving: popcorn, pumpkin seeds, pecans, oranges, raisins and…

“We get fish sticks!” Robbie declared. “We get to stay with these guys for the rest of the day.”

“These guys,” the school’s 17 preschoolers, are paired with Ruth Berliner’s 10 second-graders to read together each week. For Thanksgiving, the students made seasonal decorations using fruits and berries – blueberries and peaches – as dyes because “that’s how the Indians did it,” said Annie Weaver, a preschool teacher.

Together the kids made shields depicting each of the four seasons. Teachers recorded what students said they were grateful for, which ranged from “My dad, my mom, my grandpa, my grandma and my toys” to “My baby sissy, my mommy loving me, my swimming pool and my sissy Emily helping me in the pool.”

Teachers and students cleaned up after their crafts-making and washed the tables in preparation for their feast.

Around 10:30 a.m., Joseph feared it would be a long wait until lunchtime, but the wee ones weren’t alone in their eagerness to feast.

“Hey, where’s the food?” quipped Principal Joe Poggi.

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