By Brittany Notch, Tadpole Class (2/3 Year Olds) Teacher and parent of a child in the Monkey Class (3 ½-5 Year Olds)
Working with children between the ages of six months to five years, there are often surprises. When we keep our eyes open to the wonders of God’s love, amazing surprises are revealed within our preschool. We have an Easter tradition at The School of Grace, where friends, teachers and Helping Parents participate in a Palm Parade during Music Class, the week before Easter. We hold our palm prawns (felt palm leaves) and instruments (typically jingle bells strung on pipe cleaners, which are easy for tiny hands and fingers to hold) as we wave our palm prawns, ring our bells and sing the first verse of “Jesus Loves Me” over and over. Before we begin the song again, we pause and shout, “Hooray for JESUS!”
This year, for me personally, the parade was even more special. The Helping Parent in my class that day is a professional photographer. She had her infant with her, whom I carried during the parade so the mom could take photos. Our parade went up along our upper playground, inside the main building and through the church office. We stopped by a Bible Study group to share our love and excitement with them as well. Our parade was well received by all the adults we passed by, but the true gift and blessing was among the children, in the Monkey Class, who lined each side of the hallway to support our parading! As we processed past them, they clapped, waved their arms and cheered. That was a surprise!
The group of children who lined the hall in the main building is our transitional kindergarten students. Many of them started our program in the Infant/Toddler class and are former students of mine, including my own youngest child. With an infant in my arms and holding the hand of one of my students, I realized this is the last time many of the children lining the hall will have this experience at The School of Grace. My eyes filled with tears of joy and sadness at the same time.
I know Jesus is with us always. There are times in my life His presence is stronger. This was one of those times. In that moment, I realized my personal joy and sadness, though deeply moving, must only be a fraction of the joy and sadness people must have felt in Jesus’ day. The joy experienced by those who lined the streets of Jerusalem as they celebrated and welcomed their King and Savior must have been incredibly overwhelming as well as the sadness they experienced throughout His crucifixion and death.
My own child pulled on my arm motioning me to bend down. She laid a big kiss on my face and told me she loved me. The oldest sibling of the infant I was carrying reached out to hug and kiss her baby sister in my arms. As we shouted “Hooray for Jesus”, my heart filled with gratitude. By virtue of all He has given us, our preschool family is able to learn, grow, love and cherish each experience and surprise bestowed upon us at The School of Grace.