A Magical Night at School

There’s nothing quite like being a child at school – in the dark – at night – with your family. This week children and families gathered at school for a pizza party outside on the playground.  It was such fun to see parents getting to know each other and children playing together.  After supper, the pumpkin carving began.  We have stone planters along the pathway, a perfect spot for carving and transforming  pumpkins into jack-o-lanterns.

And then, it became dark.  We lined up all the jack-o-lanterns, lit them with candles, and stepped back to admire the many different faces.

This is what I wrote to families later that night:

Tonight was special.  There was a moment, as the sun was setting and jack-o-lantern carving was almost finished, that I looked around and saw parents smiling and laughing with other parents. Children were busy and happy with their families and friends.  It was a moment when I knew this was indeed a magical night.  The sky turned pink.

Then, all the jack-o-lanterns were lit and glowing along the planter for everybody to see.  That was extraordinary.

When we gathered to sit in a big circle with our jack-o-lanterns and sing songs, it was nearly dark.  That was exciting!  Being at school in the dark with your family, surrounded by classmates and families with jack-o-lanterns, is an experience that will be remembered.  It is magical.  I felt it.  Teachers felt it.  I hope you did, too.

The end of the playground is a large grassy area, perfect for running and playing soccer… and perfect for sitting together in a giant ring to sing Halloween songs.  Children were snuggled together with their moms and dads.  I played the autoharp as we sang “The Jack-O-Lantern Song.”  Then we waved glow sticks and sang “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star.”  There was a feeling of mystery and magic.  These were the moments that mattered.  Memories were being made, right then and there.  Magic.

After singing, it was time to go home, but no one wanted to leave.  Neither did I.  It was such a lovely feeling to just be.  We sat together a bit longer, soaking up the feelings, taking in the wonder of the moment and the night, and putting this magical memory deep inside.

As we were leaving, this is what happened, with a little backstory:

Eamonn is a dad in my class, and we have quite a history together- starting when he was a student in my class.  He did his high school internship with me many years ago.  I remember it well, and remember how much he enjoyed the experience.  Later, he worked with me at Summer Camp, and then became my assistant teacher.  He left to continue his education and become a pediatric nurse.  As a dad in my class, he has come full circle.  When I said goodbye that night I asked, “Do you remember this, Eamonn?  Do you remember the night?”  He was pretty choked up and said, “Oh, yes.”  It was hard for him to get those two words out.  And he said, “And the song…”  I was a little choked up, too.


About Jennie

I have been teaching preschool for over thirty years. This is my passion. I believe that children have a voice, and that is the catalyst to enhance or even change the learning experience. Emergent curriculum opens young minds. It's the little things that happen in the classroom that are most important and exciting. That's what I write about. I am highlighted in the the new edition of Jim Trelease's bestselling book, "The Read-Aloud Handbook" because of my reading to children. My class has designed quilts that hang as permanent displays at both the National Liberty Museum in Philadelphia, and the Fisher House at the Boston VA Hospital.
This entry was posted in Early Education, Halloween, Imagination, jack-o-lanterns, Singing and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

52 Responses to A Magical Night at School

  1. This sounds like a really wonderful evening. We do something similar at Christmas time with Christmas carol singing and candles.

  2. Darlene says:

    How special! Perfect to celebrate the magic of Halloween instead of the scariness. The pumpkins look fabulous all lined up. Having Eamonn come back with his own children makes life come full circle!

    • Jennie says:

      Thank you, Darlene. Yes, magic instead of scariness. Eamonn’s story really was incredible. I’m so glad you enjoyed the post and the jack-o-lanterns 🎃

  3. beetleypete says:

    Full circle indeed, Jennie. You bestow more than education on those children. You give them magical memories too, which are just as special.
    Best wishes, Pete.

  4. Tina Frisco says:

    Jennie, I got chills reading this. I hope you know how special you are. In my next life, I’m incarnating as one of your pupils 🙂 ♥

  5. Oh God, Jennie, I am so touched! Your posts are so amazing with the stories of loving connection with your kids and parents and community. Love love love the Twinkle Twinkle Little Star song. Thank you – I really appreciate this. (And what great jack o’ laterns). Love to you Jennie

    • Jennie says:

      Thanks so much, Debbie. I’m glad you enjoyed the post. The love and connecting with children was the best, and of course the jack-o-lanterns. 🎃

  6. Such a heartfelt story Jennie, truly touching. As a parent these are the beautiful memories you want your kids to remember forever. Lorelle. 🙂

  7. srbottch says:

    You can see yourself, Jenn, you’re a generational mal teacher. But you knew that. Great work, again.

  8. frenchc1955 says:

    Jennie, thank you for another wonderful post!

  9. frenchc1955 says:

    Reblogged this on charles french words reading and writing and commented:
    This is another wonderful post from Jennie!

  10. Oh my, Jennie, what a lovely evening and tender moment with Eamonn. You are creating life-long memories and how wonderful to see that with your own two eyes. ❤

  11. Doris says:

    Jennie is truely an amazing teacher & her students are so lucky. We could use many more Jennies in our schools.

  12. Meg says:

    A wonderful way to build community, Jennie. Your students have such an enriching time with. You give such simple gifts … that’s love in action.

  13. How wonderful of you Jennie, and what a lovely memory for the children and parents to remember as the go through life. Thank you!

  14. Dan Antion says:

    It must be really special to have a student return as a parent. What a sign of respect for you.

  15. Doris says:

    Jennie, you are a very special teacher. Your students & parents are extremely fortunate. We need more Jennies in our schools!

  16. What a wonderful magical night you all had!

  17. A magical night and a magical post, Jennie. What a wonderful collection of jack o’lanterns! Happy almost Halloween. Hugs.

  18. ren says:

    and….I got choked up too….. Another beautiful sharing/memory. Thank you

  19. Di says:

    Hello Jennie, what a beautiful, moving piece of life and writing.
    Thank you for brightening our days with your posts.
    💜 Di

    • Jennie says:

      Thank you, Di. Your words are so kind and appreciated. BTW, your post card from London arrived last week! The children loved it! They thought it was funny that a phone booth is called a phone box. Thank you!!! ❤️

  20. AL says:

    Wonderful idea. We sometimes allow students from one class to stay overnight but we have never arranged something like that – I love it!

  21. BrittB says:

    Awww super cool! What an awesome moment to take part in!

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