October 6, 2016

The Giant Pumpkin

Preschool teachers Christie Stanford and Katy Hollenbach
bring sunshine and rain to their pumpkin seed
On Tuesday and Thursday of this week, our preschool classes participated in our annual Harvest Celebration. 

This is a long-standing Friends’ School tradition, dating back to our founding families in 1987. Our Harvest celebrates all the bounty the earth offers us, and the traditional year-end harvest of the crops. Families are invited to come together to sing songs, hear a story, and share some food that the class has made together.

In the preschool, teachers tell the story of The Giant Pumpkin.  During the story, preschoolers are invited to close their eyes, and in those magical moments, the pumpkin mysteriously grows bigger and bigger, from a small seed to a giant pumpkin! The Giant Pumpkin story is based on an old Polish folktale of the giant turnip.

Our 2014 and 2015 Boulder Teachers of the Year, Christie Stanford and Jessie Vanden Hogen, have been telling the giant pumpkin story for 17 years!  In more recent years, they have been joined by colleagues Hetta Towler and Katy Hollenbach, and this year by their Teacher Candidates Lauren Mark and Mary Kay Morris.

Jessie, Hetta and Lauren celebrate The Giant Pumpkin
with their pre-Kindergartners
I try to never miss the story telling.  I’ve been to four this week! Words cannot quite capture the teachers’ passionate expression of surprise and celebration each time the pumpkin grows.  Raw joy and pure imagination reign.  For years, these amazing educators have been telling this story and they make it incredibly alive for the children.

Naturally of course, the excitement, delight and mystery follow for the children too – and for their parents – and for their head of school!

In our morning classes, preschoolers shout out all that’s needed to grow the pumpkin: sun, water, weeding, mulch, and love.  In the afternoon pre-Kindergarten classes, children act out the story, with each student taking a part that they practice ahead of time.  It ends with all the class in a line pulling together on an imaginary pumpkin vine.

Following the story, families shared delicious pumpkin muffins, made by the children and teachers.

For our east classrooms this year, the weather was so changeable that we saw both rain and sun to help grow the pumpkin!

Thank you, preschool teachers, for all the love and storytelling. Thank you for the stories, for the music, and for those all-important community moments that we cherish.

Our elementary Harvest celebration will be on October 20th. Please join my story telling of Stone Soup and our classroom celebrations! 

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