It has been the merriest of holiday seasons for the children attending Wayne County Schools. Whether it was events at Bell Elementary with the hallways completely transformed with decorations and lights or Monticello Elementary’ s wonderful “A Christmas Carol” play – local educators have made it a memorable holiday for their students while at school.
In addition, the schools have contributed to the community by cooking for the less fortunate, conducting service learning projects, participating in the Christmas Parade, bringing canned goods for food drives, and tree lighting events – just to name a few of the ways students have learned to give to others. Teachers have gone the extra mile for the students wearing ugly Christmas sweaters, teaching them lines in programs, tutoring after school, and making their classrooms inviting and festive while nailing learning goals with high expectations before the holiday.
One of the most touching events of the season came from a simple idea. Preschool classes at Walker Early Learning Center learned how to make a tasty gingerbread recipe after their teachers read stories related to the event aloud in the morning and afternoon classes.
The youngest learners were completely engaged in making an oversized gingerbread man for their classroom, while unexpectedly learning how to measure ingredients and sharpen their beginning math skills. As they took turns stirring the ingredients, they were already strategizing if their culinary creation came to life he might escape.
Preschool Teacher Hellen Duncan taught the children how to mix the ingredients as they doubled the recipe pouring in more flour. “That’s a big old mess,” she told the preschoolers as they patiently waited their turn to participate.
Preschooler Mason Queener warned Ms. Hellen, “It’s getting a lot dirtier on your gloves.”
The preschoolers especially enjoyed decorating the giant gingerbread man with candy to create his face. During this creative process their teacher asked, “Does he need ears?’
Preschooler McKenzie Taylor replied, “He doesn’t need ears because he is a gingerbread man.”
They discussed that he was brown, which just so happened to be the color of the week for the preschoolers.
Preschooler Joseph Roe helped put on the eyes and noted that he would like to eat the twizzles being used as the mouth. The other children made suggestions on what colors to use from the spice drops sitting in a bowl, which became buttons. They even practiced making patterns with the colored buttons.
As they completed the gingerbread man laid out on a cookie sheet, they were excited to take their artistic creation to the school kitchen where the cooks were expecting him. They said to return once he was baked. When the children returned to pick him up, they learned he had run away. So they searched and searched through classrooms on the lookout for their gingerbread man. They found footprints in different locations where he had been spotted.
Almost ready to give up the search, the children returned to their classroom. With a little more investigation, they discovered him amongst some books in their library center. By that time, they were absolutely beside themselves. When the lucky student found him, the students were delighted and so relieved. They got to sample him as the teacher divided up portions.
It was an absolutely thrilling day at preschool for the youngest learners.
Iris Stringer, Teacher Hellen Duncan, Joseph Roe, and Kevin Tucker
Sawyer Hicks putting brown sugar in the bowl
Taylen Roberts, Bralei Loften, Korbin McCutchen, and Layne Handcock
"That's a big mess," said Teacher Hellen Duncan as she doubled the flour
Principal Angela Ballinger chatted with preschoolers on the lookout for the gingerbread man
Mckenzie Taylor holding up one of the gingerbread books her class had read
(above and below) Preschoolers in Hellen Duncan's morning preschool class created their gingerbread man
Hellen Duncan's class presented their gingerbread man to Walker Food Service Manager Tessa Slagle to be baked in the oven.
(front to back) Sharlene Prince's class: Bode Robbins, Marshall Glass, Mason Branscum, and Kaylee Christman proudly taking their gingerbread man to the kitchen.
Nikki Prince's class, led by Maecey Alley and Charlee Thrasher with their gingerbread men
Whitney Burks' class with their gingerbread man
Cook Fe Vaughn takes the gingerbread man out of the oven
Hellen Duncan with her class in the cafeteria looking for their gingerbread man. Food Service Assistant Patricia Harmon explained that the gingerbread man was on the run to preschooler William Sears and his classmates.
Sharon Lowe and her class with their gingerbread man that is about to be put in the oven.
Joseph Roe searches for his classes gingerbread man in the school library
Students searched among the pinecones in the art room
Mason Queener discovered the gingerbread man in the library center after the class searched and searched for him.
Preschooler Taylen Roberts samples the gingerbread man
Preschooler Bralei Loften enjoyed eating part of the gingerbread man