Paper hats, some with Native American feathers, others with Pilgrim brims and bonnets, topped the boys and girls. Flame colored crepe paper combined with hula hoops to form pretend ‘bonfires.’ But the enormous spread of food was real enough.
Kindergartners at North Bend Elementary celebrated their annual Thanksgiving Feast on Thursday, Nov. 21, in the school gym.
“We are Pilgrims,” explained teacher Marcia McCracken, as her 20 kindergartners arrived. “We just got off the Mayflower, and walked to our very first Thanksgiving Feast.”
“It’s a really special event,” she said.
Children took lessons about working together from the first Thanksgiving of 1621, in which settlers at Plymouth feasted with members of the Wampanoag tribe. Thanksgiving was made a national holiday in 1863.
“They were really excited to find out how the Pilgrims and the Wampanoag helped each other,” said teacher Amber Gerth. “You can see they’re loving the food.”
Students were very interested in the legend of how settlers were taught to plant fish as fertilizer with maize, said teacher Mary-Lee Johnson. They learned how the settlers were thankful for making it through their first winter.
“I asked my class to sit next to somebody they didn’t know very well,” said Johnson. “It’s getting them to think outside of themselves,” Johnson said. She asked, ‘What else are you thankful for?’
The feast mingled students from North Bend’s full day and half-day kindergarten classes. Parents and staff brought food, and the children dug in, especially to the cookies.
“This is really cute,” said mom Shayna Tubbs of North Bend.
Pupils meet around a paper ‘bonfire,’ in the ‘First Thanksgiving’ feast at NBE.
Above, students in Amber Gerth’s class smile as she takes a photo, below, with her tablet.