Learning Through Play for 70 Years

Operation Gratitude

Attendance at Annandale Cooperative Preschool comes with lots of benefits:  parents and other family members in the classrooms and roaming the halls, experienced degreed teachers and lots of learning through play.  While the kids do plenty of learning about science, math, reading and writing, the education does not stop there.  Citizenship and patriotism were the talk of the day, today, as several members of the United States Armed Forces visited the school!

All of the service members we met today are parents of students at ACPS.  We heard from a Navy Captain submariner, an Air Force Major Judge Advocate General, and an Air Force Captain Chaplain-in-Training.  The kids even had the honor of having a letter read to them that was written by a Marine Captain who is currently deployed in Afghanistan (and dad to one of our students)!  The children did a great job paying attention and asking poignant questions such as, “How does the submarine stay underwater without sinking?”  The presentation ended with all of the children singing “You’re a Grand Old Flag” while waiving handmade American flags.

In addition to learning about citizenship and patriotism, the kids get to participate through a collection drive for our servicemen and women.  This year, and in years past, teacher Sue Ann Craig coordinated the collection of unused, unopened dental items for Operation Gratitude.  According to their mission statement, Operation Gratitude “seeks to lift spirits and meet the evolving needs of our Active Duty and Veteran communities, and provide volunteer opportunities for all Americans to express their appreciation to members of our Military.”

The children are asked to collect and bring in unused toiletry items (such as toothbrushes, toothpaste and dental floss).  They also prepare cards for the servicemen and women.  Mrs. Craig arranges for these items to be picked up by representatives of Operation Gratitude.  The staff at ACPS uses this as an opportunity to teach citizenship and patriotism to the children, and also the importance of giving back to those who sacrifice for our freedoms.