OTTUMWA — Everyone, no matter how young, is getting in the holiday spirit.
Things are no different at the Pickwick Early Childhood Center, which has spent the last few weeks gearing up for Thanksgiving. Many of the classroom doors and walls have been decorated with crayon-colored turkeys and cornucopias, and teachers have been talking about the Pilgrims, Plymouth Rock and the first Thanksgiving.
“When we’re talking about Thanksgiving, we’re talking about being kind to our friends, doing things with family and decorating turkeys. But mostly about family,” said Kelly Young, a teacher at Pickwick.
Young organized a Thanksgiving breakfast for her students and their families to kick off the season. She said it was nice to have families gathered together, because she feels that families tend to spread apart more now than they used to and don’t spend as much time together.
“I had a few that didn’t have parents or anybody that came with them. But they have enough relationships in my class that families invited them to sit with them and they shared their food with them,” Young said. “So it’s all connecting. That’s what I like to see. It’s nice.”
A few of the students at Pickwick were eager to share their holiday plans. Most were excited for the chance to play with their toys, and a few had some pretty imaginative things to say. Alexander Podliska put himself in a turkey’s place and tried to figure out how to outsmart diners.
“I’d hide by something brown,” he said.
“Why something brown?” asked Michaela O’Connell, principal of Pickwick.
“So I can camouflage,” Podliska said.
Other students had their minds on family. One was excited to have a friend from another class come to visit, while another was looking forward to seeing his cousin who is “good at playing LEGOs.”
“Thanksgiving is about love and kindness,” said Ace VanHoozer, another student.
VanHoozer shook his head when O’Connell asked him if Thanksgiving was the only time to share sentiments of love or kindness. He said he tells his mom every single day.
“I just love her so much,” he said. “She dropped off my gloves today.”