Rainbow of opportunity | TheUnion.com

Rainbow of opportunity

A group of 25 children aged 4 to 8 years happily ate rainbow shaved ice Tuesday afternoon on an outing with their class from Monalee’s Preschool.

The stop at Hawaiian Shave Ice in the Record Connection parking lot, in Grass Valley’s Glenbrook Basin, was a fun lesson in owning a business and one of several trips they made during the day.

Before the treat, children exercised their large and small motor skills at the Phillips School of Kung Fu San Soo in Nevada City, then later visited a student’s family backyard garden to pick fresh vegetables for a salad.

In an era when school children devote a large portion of their day to a desk, field trips like these teach youngsters about their community, said preschool director Tami Smith.

“Children need to be children and stop and smell the roses,” Smith said. “I think it’s kind of fun for them to get out of the classroom and see the world.”

For Tanner Swartz, the trip to the shaved ice shack was especially meaningful. His grandmother, Janet Wallace, owns the business, and she passed out rainbow ice to all her visitors. It was made by mixing blue raspberry, red raspberry and lemon flavored syrups.

“It makes six colors. It’s a favorite of all the kids,” Wallace said.

Last week, children talked about owning their own business and being their own boss, Smith said. They learned Tanner’s nana needs a truck to pull the cart, a machine to crush ice and bottles to hold a variety of syrups.

“We wanted them to know it was her business, her livelihood,” Smith said.

Outings teach the kids how to socialize and be safe by learning to use stop signs, watch for traffic and ride the bus.

In the summer months when older children attend the school, weekly trips are made to the Kung Fu studio. Children also visit the library, city pool and movie theaters from time to time.

During the school year, four-year-olds visit Nevada Union High School’s child development classrooms or the animals in the agriculture department. They learn about newts and salamanders by taking a trip to the Independence Trail and about Chinese New Year by visiting Bonanza Market in Nevada City, Smith said.

Next week they will visit a local recycling center to learn ways to help the planet.

Another bonus: Venturing beyond the playground is a sure way to tucker out youngsters before bedtime.

“It was really a fun day,” Smith said. “I’m tired.”

To contact Staff Writer Laura Brown, e-mail lbrown@theunion.com or call 477-4231.

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