By Ely Schosek
On the last day before Christmas break, or any break off of school for that matter, students abound with joy and excitement, looking forward to their time away from the classroom. Although the excitement isn’t limited to elementary-age children, their day was filled with many more Christmas-related activities. Both Colden and Springville elementary schools held Holiday Carnivals last Friday.
Springville Elementary Principal Chris Scarpine noted that the day was filled with “fun activities” for all the grades including “snow tubing, games in the gym, arts and crafts, face painting, card making, visits with Santa and caroling.”
All of the students participate in the same games and activities with only slight variations for different ages.
“Our Holiday Carnival has gone on for as far back as anyone working here can remember,” Scarpine said. “Each year we make little changes to the activities in hopes of making it better each year.”
What was special about this year’s carnival is that we finally had enough snow on the ground for students to be able to go snow tubing. For the past few years, we have not had enough snow on the day of the carnival.
SES partners with the Parent-Teacher Association (PTA) to put on the event.
“Each year the PTA takes the lead and then I help with the scheduling but this year the PTA and our special area teachers did the bulk of the planning,” Scarpine added. One of the main factors of planning is the logistics of it all along with keeping track of materials for the activities.
“We like to think of ourselves as one big family here at SES, and this is one day where we can all get together and have fun while celebrating all that we are grateful for,” Scarpine noted.
Colden Elementary School held a similar event on the same day for its students. Mrs. Laurie Brown, a teacher at CES, who was also involved in planning called it a “multitude of festive and fun activities for the whole school.”
In the same manner as SES, they had modified activities from one grade to the next, Brown noted.
“Our activities are based on grade level so the kids developmentally can partake plus we make sure the activities are engaging for all ages,” she said. There is one set of activities for kindergarten through second grade and another for grades 3 to 5.
When asked if the carnival has taken place before, Brown noted that it has in fact taken place every year for at least 23 years, likely more. The activities are modified each year to fit the interests of the students.
Different from SES, Colden has a committee of eight teachers that planned the event.
“Planning involves a lot of research using Pinterest and googling ideas,” Brown noted. “We also have to order and/or create the items we needed for each of the activities.”
In regard to the management of the day, the committee also had to come up with a schedule and request parent volunteers.
When asked why it was a good opportunity for the students, Brown said it allows all of the students to be “actively engaged in all the activities” and lets them “feel a sense of community and teamwork.” She also added, “In the end, they just have fun, and what’s better for the kids than that?”
CES Principal Brooke Adams answered the same question by stating, “I believe this is a great way to celebrate the hard work students put in before break.” Adams also mentioned all the hard work teachers put into it to make it a great day for the kids. The wide array of activities is intended to keep the students engaged throughout the duration of the day.
Cora Miller is a fourth-grade student at SES who explained in detail some of the games and activities. In the gym, the students played a game in a large inflatable pit — they jumped around while only hitting the ball with their hands. If it hit below their knees, they were out and went and played volleyball.
Students also participated in stations involving painting, holiday card decorating, coloring and holiday games on the computers. In art, the fourth graders were given a small wooden block that they could paint as a snowman, a penguin, a Santa or a reindeer.
Cora noted that her favorite part of the day was the face painting but she also enjoyed the tubing and “snow paint.” She also mentioned that there was someone dressed up as the Grinch walking around with Mr. Scarpine’s dog who acted as the Grinch’s dog, Max.
After nearly four months of the school year complete, the CES and SES Holiday Carnivals are a great way to get both students and staff into the holiday mood before they head off for break.