Preschoolers at Crawford Street United Methodist Church get in the Mardi Gras spirit
Mardi Gras is a time when revelers hold parades, throw beads and wear masks even if they are just preschoolers.
“I’m making mine a silly face,” Eric Gonzalas said of the mask he was making on Wednesday during table time in Amy Jackson’s pre-k playschool class at Crawford Street United Methodist Church.
“Mine is a surprise,” said preschooler A’dyn Dorsey.
Both boys, along with the other 11 four and five year old students who comprise Jackson’s preschool class worked diligently making masks for the upcoming Mardi Gras parade, which is scheduled to roll on Tuesday, March 5 in the church’s gym.
Jackson, who has been a teacher at Crawford Street for six years, said students have also been preparing for the parade by making floats at home with assistance from parents and older siblings
For many years now, Jackson said, the preschool classes at Crawford Street have been holding a Mardi Gras parade at the church while also incorporating the carnival season into student’s activities.
“In our class, we talk about Fat Tuesday,” Jackson said.
“Mardi Gras means Fat Tuesday,” Gonzalas said.
“And it’s when you throw beads and ride on floats,” pre-school student Campbell Tucker said.
“It’s also when they throw candy,” pre-school student Jarek Sherwin added.
The Crawford Street playschool parade is a highlight for students, Jackson said.
“They always love having their parents come for the school wide parade where they throw beads, and listen to the music,” she said.
“It’s a day of celebration, and who doesn’t like a celebration,” Jackson said, adding, students also love having the king cake for their snack.
“Not many kids are going to turn down that much sugar,” she said.
In addition to celebrating Mardi Gras, Jackson said, her playschool students will also learn out the season of Lent, which follows.
“We have weekly lessons on Lent and will discuss how during lent some people will not eat rich or fatty foods,” Jackson said.
“We talk about what some of those foods might be,” she said.
“And we also talk about how some people will eat as much of those foods on Fat Tuesday as they can because they won’t be able to eat them again until Easter,” Jackson said.
To engage the students further in conversation, Jackson said, she will ask them what one of their favorite foods might be, and if they thought they could not eat it for 46 days.
Students, she said, will also learn about the various Lenten symbols and their meanings during their weekly studies, Jackson said.
“On different days, we will pass around and talk about the wooden cross, a palm frond and a sponge.
And two weeks prior to Easter, Jackson said, students will have the opportunity to visit the sanctuary of the church and there she will read several versions of the Easter story to the children.
“Some of our students already know the Lenten story and how it ends,” Jackson said.