Last week was full and colorful. It started with Halloween on Monday, as the school filled up with an overabundance of costumed children. The week morphed into many celebrations of Día de los Muertos on Wednesday. Inspired by work in Spanish with Diane, classroom events ranged from setting up simple displays of pictures of ancestors, to writing about ancestors, to full-on gatherings of parents for a ceremony and lunch. It was the first time we’ve had any kind of larger gatherings with parents since March of 2020, so that added another layer of joyfulness and appreciation.
The kitchen was filled with the smell of pan de muerto baking during the week, which included not only the delicious scent of bread baking, but also chocolate and cinnamon. Several classes made skeleton art, in particular sugar skulls. Remnants of the celebration of ancestors linger around the school.
The finale of the week was our annual tie-dye/tile painting day held Friday afternoon after school. The day was a bit cool (by Arizona standards), but otherwise beautiful and sunny. We had some excellent parent volunteers helping set up the event on the basketball court. The wide range of colorful dyes was set out in pre-measured bottles, and shirts were soaked in batches according to tie-dye time slots. Tile painting was set up in the kindergarten room in the usual organized fashion.
As soon as school let out, parents arrived, collected their children, and made their way to the spaces where their chosen activity was taking place. The energy floating around reflected the colorfulness of the dyes and the day. I tried to touch base with as many families as possible, checking in on their process, and offering tips for successful tie-dye. It’s always fun to see how families approach tie-dye. Some are more interested in a final product, while others hand over the bottles of dye to their child and give them full freedom. One of my favorite situations was with a parent who was careful about tying the shirts meticulously and had lots of questions. I gave a suggestion for how to apply the dyes for an ideal outcome, and then we both noticed that her child had already started applying the dyes with his own idea of what to do. Without missing a beat, this observant mom and I knew the truest way for this to be a successfully dyed shirt was to give the child space to keep doing what he was doing.
As we move along our school calendar after completing tie-dye, tiles, and Día de los Muertos, we have an additional time of remembrance. This Friday, November 11, we pause to remember the veterans who have served our country. We offer gratitude for their sacrifice and courage so we can continue to enjoy our everyday lives filled with freedom and opportunity.