After three months of silence at Pre-K 4 SA’s Education Centers due to COVID-19, cheers, laughter and excitement finally filled the outdoor air.
Pre-K 4 SA teachers and staff converted their parking lots into drive-through festivals to host End-of-Year Parades for their students. It was a time to celebrate their students’ accomplishments and it needed to be special despite the health safety precautions in place since March. On June 1, the North Education Center debuted the first parade with the other Pre-K 4 SA Education Centers following, holding their own parades.
Every year, Pre-K 4 SA hosts End-of-Year Celebrations by inviting the students’ families to come and celebrate their accomplishment of completing the Pre-K 4 SA program. Children, with the help of their teachers, usually create “Demonstrations of Learning” binders, a portfolio-like compilation of each student’s work. However, with the pandemic and school closures, there were no in-person End-of-Year Demonstrations of Learning. Instead, Pre-K 4 SA teachers reached out to parents for them to create a virtual collage of Demonstrations of Learning. And, for the very first time, Pre-K 4 SA personnel planned parades for their 2019-2020 cohort.
“I’ve been a pre-k teacher for 14 years and this is the first time I’ve experienced an End-of-Year Parade. I loved the parade because we got to see our students and they got to see us. This was a big party and it was amazing,” said Stephani Alvarado, Pre-K 4 SA master teacher. “My vote would be—COVID-19 or not—that we have End-of-Year Parades like this every year.”
Teachers, staff, and leadership worked diligently to convert their parking lots into festive wonderlands. At the South Education Center, teachers decorated their areas with Hawaiian décor and wore leis and hula skirts. Some wore floating tubes around their waists as if they were about to jump into a pool. Others danced to the beat of the music as parents drove by honking their car horns. Despite the hot temperatures, Pre-K 4 SA teachers and staff waited between noon and 4:00 p.m. as their students and their families came through the parade lines one by one.
Some parents decorated their vehicles with balloons, signs, and banners which added to the overall festive ambiance of achievement. What stood out the most was when the children got to see their teachers. Their faces lit up and at the same time, teachers were overjoyed to see their students again.
“My daughter Eliana was very excited to see her teacher again! For the past three months, she was sad because she hadn’t seen her teacher or her friends,” said Magaly Silva, South Education Center parent. “We really loved and enjoyed the parade! It was well organized and my daughter loved how everyone cheered as we drove through the parade. Thank you, Pre-K 4 SA!”
Every student received a summer goody bag which included his or her Pre-K 4 SA certificate of completion, items for summer activities, and books, which included a recently released book called The Nuff. Pre-K 4 SA wants its students to continue their education and reading throughout the summer as they transition to kindergarten.
Even though Pre-K 4 SA’s eighth cohort may have faced challenging times, the Pre-K 4 SA departments, teams, and families still made it possible for children to continue their high-quality education at home. An End-of-Year Parade was the best way for Pre-K 4 SA to celebrate with their students and families, giving them the proper send-off to kindergarten.
“Our students needed to realize that their teachers and their schools are still here, and this is a celebration for them. Now, they can happily close this chapter of their lives and move onto the next one,” said Alvarado.