Children at Kidzle B Kids day care celebrate Thanksgiving early

SMOKEY POINT — Andrew Gallardo isn't used to waiting for his meal. So when a plate of food was put in front of the 3-year-old, he silently pleaded with his mother, Yvonne.

"Please?" he mouthed, smiling. "Please?"

Despite his mother shaking her head, Andrew decided he couldn't wait any longer and began popping a homemade cornbread muffin in his mouth.

Yvonne Gallardo laughed.

"At home when the plate is on the table, it's fair game to eat," she said.

Thanksgiving dinner came early for Gallardo and about 20 other children at Kidzle B Kids day care in Smokey Point Tuesday, Nov. 24.

In addition to preparing and serving a Thanksgiving meal made up of cornbread, salad and pumpkin pie, the preschool-aged children sang a number of holiday songs for their parents.

"We've spent the last month talking about the Thanksgiving story," owner JoAnne Van Leuven said. "It's a whole process — they've been focusing on being thankful. They're so excited."

She said the children have been learning about not only the importance of the holiday but how much work goes into making a Thanksgiving dinner.

The children were tasked with not only helping make the pre-holiday meal, but setting the table and making costumes to wear during their celebratory dinner.

Part of making the meal included growing and harvesting pumpkins at the day care.

"We made four pumpkin pies out of pumpkins we grew out front," Van Leuven said. "That was fun because they had never seen the process."

Staff members also taught the boys and girls six Thanksgiving songs — most of them were about turkeys, including "Five Little Turkeys," and the "Fat Turkey's Song."

Van Leuven led the students in the songs, encouraging them before and during the performance in front of about five parents.

One boy in the back, sporting a pilgrim hat, stopped during the middle of the "Fat Turkey's Song" after he saw somebody he recognized.

"Oh, look — your mom is here!" he said to another nearby pilgrim.

Rodney Ranes stood in the audience while holding 1-year-old son Jacob and listening to 5-year-old daughter Kaylee sing. Both children attend the day care.

After the medley of songs, Ranes and his children made their way to the table where the meal was being served.

"He's not going to let me leave without eating," Ranes said about his son.

The students gathered around the table and recited a short phrase before they ate.

"We are thankful for our friends and for our time together," they said in unison.

Kidzle B Kids director Debbie Nice said afterwards that the entire day was a great learning experience for the children.

"They learned how to share, and not just their toys," Nice said. "They also learned how to cook together, and how much work dinner is. There's a lot to it."

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