The first Thanksgiving

Published 8:23 pm Friday, November 27, 2009

In the Kilby Shores Elementary School cafeteria on Tuesday, about 100 kindergarteners got a fresh look at an old lesson.

The students, many accompanied by parents, crowded around the lunch tables to chow down on popcorn, applesauce, muffins and salad. Each student was dressed as a Pilgrim, an American Indian or a turkey.

“We had a unit on the first Thanksgiving,” said kindergarten teacher Mary Williams. “This is a fun way to help reinforce what they’re doing.”

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The food the students ate was chosen because it would have been available in America on the first Thanksgiving, Williams said.

“We try to have food similar to the first Thanksgiving,” she said. “They really enjoy it.”

Mother Serena Cox said her son, Gunnar Tillman, seems to be taking the lessons to heart.

“He’s bringing home crafts,” she said, pointing to a turkey made of construction paper. “He’s talking about Indians and Pilgrims. He’s excited.”

Cox said the reinforcement of the lesson comes at a perfect time for the children.

“This is the first year they really start paying attention to what the holiday means,” Cox said.

As Gunnar cleaned his plate, Cox added, “I wish you’d eat like that at home.”

Kilby Shores principal Seazante Oliver said the activity is correlated with the Standards of Learning tests for kindergarten.

“They learn about the first Thanksgiving, the types of food they ate, types of clothes they wore, what type of homes they lived in,” Oliver said. “This is like a culmination of that portion of their lessons.”

Asked what she learned from the lesson, soft-spoken Zaniya Holland kept it simple.

“I learned about Pilgrims and Indians,” she said.