Preschoolers march for recognition
“Once they see our parade, they will join in,” proclaimed 4-year-old Flinn Lazier.
And by the time the students with the Children’s Garden of Learning preschool reached Red Sandstone Park Wednesday morning, about 50 children, parents and teachers had joined the march to recognize April as national ‘Month of the Young Child.’
The National Association for the Education of Young Children came up with the idea in 1971 to encourage communities to celebrate young children. The designation – part of the National Child Abuse Prevention Campaign – aims to raise awareness about the health and education of young children. Schools across the county have organized activities for the month.
The Vail group met at 11 a.m. in front of the preschool, which is on the west end of Red Sandstone Elementary in Vail. The group was ready to go.
“Let’s see your marching legs!” Liz McGillvray, a preschool teacher, called out to the bustling crowd.
And with a stomp, stomp they marched, skipped or jogged to the nearby park. Joining them were students, teachers and parents from the Vail Recreation District’s child-care program.
East Vail resident Gigi Dramis brought her 5-year-old daughter, Julia, to the event.
“They’ve been doing activities all month,” she said.
Nancy Sandberg and her two children, David, 3, and Leah, 1, also joined the march. While David was shy about discussing the event, his mom said they came to support the preschool.
Vail councilwoman Kim Ruotolo read a proclamation recognizing the month. While she was there in an official capacity, the West Vail mother of two said she knows first-hand how important early childhood education can be.
“They learn skills, how to socialize, how to follow rules,” she said. “They don’t learn that anywhere else.”
Her children, Lydia, 4 and Owen, 2, are enrolled in child-care programs.
“I’ve been surprised about how much they learn things I didn’t think they were ready for,” she said. “Lydia can write her name, her mom and dad’s name.”
Once the group reached the park, they sat in a semi-circle on the grass. Ruotolo read the Vail town proclamation, recognizing the importance of early-childhood services. After singing a round of “I’m a Little Pile of Tin,” the group hit the playground.
While parents and teachers emphasize the educational and social benefits of programs like preschool, all Owen Salmunovich, 4, knows is preschool is fun. While playing on the swings, he paused to note all the reasons why.
“I like the playing, I like the lunch,” he said. “I like resting. I like everything about school.”
“I like extended naptime,” Zach Hernandez, 4, added.
Staff writer Tamara Miller can be reached via e-mail at: firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 949-0555 ext. 607. Cindy Cohagen contributed to this report.