It was the typical circle time songs that a group of little kids always sing, but Five Little Speckled Frogs and Alice the Camel rang out in the parking lot of one Chilliwack preschool this week instead of inside the classroom.
Thirteen of the 15 families at Hobby Hill Parent Participation Preschool gathered Wednesday morning, with physical distancing measures in place, for a preschooler parking lot tailgate party.
Kids and parents set up lawn chairs and blankets outside their minivans and SUVs parked in a horseshoe, as stuffies and snacks sat an arm’s reach away in the open trunks.
Janice Scott, instructor/manager and “hokey pokey specialist” at Hobby Hill, walked around the circle as she played counting games with the children. There was also music and movement making for a great cardio workout for both kids and adults.
“There’s lots of spirit at the school,” Scott said.
She’s been an early childhood educator at the school for more than 30 years and said it’s important not just for the kids to see each other, but for the teachers as well.
“It’s just as much for me as it is for the kids,” Scott said. “Parents and teachers, we like our routine.”
Scott and her fellow teacher, Monique Welsh, have been sending out emails with videos, stories and science experiments to keep the children entertained and to stay in touch with them. Additionally, Scott has gone to some of the kids’ homes and done circle time in their driveways.
The kids and their parents have been returning the favour by sending them video clips of themselves singing and they even had a parade through her cul-de-sac for her, Scott said almost tearing up.
Unlike daycares, preschools follow the school district’s schedule – they were closed for spring break and then stayed shut afterwards due to COVID-19 – so the three- to five-year-olds have not seen their friends for nearly two months.
This was one way for them all to see each other while keeping a safe distance.
“One of the things that attracted us to Hobby Hill was that community feel where everyone is invested in their kid’s education and we were missing that,” said Stacey Pearce, whose three-year-old son attends Hobby Hill.
“It’s important for the kids to see their friends,” she said. “Playing with their siblings is one thing, but seeing people outside the family is also important.”