GLENDALE—This Christmas season at St. Mary’s Richard Tufenkian Preschool, there was no shortage of holiday cheer alongside lessons about kindness and giving. In addition to the traditional visit from Santa Clause and classroom celebrations, festive lunches, bake sales, and holiday arts and crafts, all ten classes – from the two-and-a-half-year-old students to the kindergarteners – hosted Christmas recitals for their parents and participated in the Spark of Love Toy Drive.
Throughout the month of December, the school hosted Parent Visitation Days on separate days for each of its ten classes. The mornings started with great fervor in the school auditorium as students performed a series of well-known Armenian and English language Christmas songs, and recited thematic poetry in Armenian. All of the performances culminated with an original Tufenkian Preschool 45th Anniversary song, written and composed by the school’s esteemed music instructor, Ani Hovagimian. At the end of the special song, students blew out the candles of the school’s 45th anniversary cake, which each class had baked for their parents. Students then joined their parents for coffee and milk as they enjoyed the baked cakes.
Following the recitals, parents were invited to spend time with students inside their classrooms, engaging in pre-planned, hands-on activities and becoming familiar with their children’s daily routines and environments. Parents participated in outdoor play time, as well, in order to receive the full spectrum of a day at Tufenkian Preschool. The visitations ended back in the auditorium with parent and student lunches, featuring each class’ favorite meal from the Tufenkian lunch menu.
Alongside the joy students experienced preparing for their Christmas recitals, as well as for their Santa parties, they also learned a valuable lesson about giving to those in need. For the fifth year, the school participated in the ABC7 and Southern California Firefighters Spark of Love Toy Drive. For weeks, the Parent Support Committee had stationed empty bins in the school’s hallways for students to donate unwrapped toys for children less fortunate than them. Participation was voluntary, but students participated in droves.
On the Monday before Christmas break, kindergarten students and their teachers, alongside members of the school administration, and PSC Steering Board, walked to Glendale Fire Station #25, to hand deliver the plethora of toys collected. While there, the students received a tour of the fire station and were gifted special hats and stickers. They sang a Christmas song for the firefighters before walking back to school. The Spark of Love Toy Drive campaign collects new, unwrapped toys and sports equipment for underserved children and teens in Los Angeles, San Bernardino, Orange, Ventura and Riverside counties. Toys collected in the respective counties are distributed locally.