NEW BLOOMFIELD, Mo. - Kindergartners at New Bloomfield Elementary got an early start on the Thanksgiving holiday Tuesday afternoon.
Sixty eager young pilgrims and Native Americans took part in the school's annual Kindergarten Thanksgiving Feast.
As the paper costume-bedecked students enjoyed turkey and all the trimmings prepared by their parents, they shared what they had learned about the first Thanksgiving as well as what they are most thankful for this year.
Owen Dorsey said his favorite thing about the lessons leading up to the feast was learning about the Mayflower and making necklaces out of pasta (in place of wampum).
Dorsey's favorite part of Thanksgiving is "eating turkey."
Ellie McCabe said she also enjoyed learning about the pilgrims' ship and "how long the trip was."
"I like eating pie," McCabe added, noting that pumpkin is her favorite for the holiday. "I'm thankful for seeing everybody for Thanksgiving."
Classmate Myah Briggs said she liked learning the name of the Mayflower "because I didn't know it before." Briggs said she also learned that the pilgrims left England for the New World "because they wanted to see what was on the other side."
"My favorite part of Thanksgiving is that my aunt and uncles come over," Briggs said, adding that this year she is grateful for "my baby brother, Colby."
Like the others, Tiauna Friend said the most interesting thing she learned about the pilgrims was "that they sailed a ship."
Friend said her favorite part of Thanksgiving is "that you get to have pie" and "that we get to have it all together."
Donovan Ostberg said the thing he most liked about the history lessons was learning the pilgrims lived in straw houses they built themselves.
Ostberg said he is thankful for his brother, Dorian, this year, and that "we get to play."
Sydnee Carlson said the most important thing she learned about the first Thanksgiving was how the pilgrims and Native Americans sat together at the feast.
"My favorite part (of the holiday) is going outside to do a picnic," Carlson said, adding she is thankful this year for "my baby sister, Kynlee."
Kindergarten teacher Bridget Maddox, who until this year has taught fifth grade, said she enjoyed her first Thanksgiving Feast.
"The best part has been seeing the excitement about making the vests - they've been talking about it for several weeks," Maddox said.
Although the costumes and the feast are fun, Maddox said she hopes what students take away from the experience is learning how the pilgrims and Indians worked together.
Teacher Viv Bierman, who has been directing the Kindergarten Thanksgiving Feast for 14 years, said "it gets better and better" each year.
"We really couldn't do it without the support and contributions of the parents," Bierman said. "My favorite part is the costumes - we talk about the cultural aspects of the decorative pieces."
Another important aspect, Bierman explained, is pulling in the history behind the holiday and its many traditions, and comparing what was done in the past and how it is celebrated now.
"Twelfth-graders still come back to me and talk about it," Bierman said of the kindergarten tradition. "It's a lifelong memory we're building."
As Tuesday afternoon's festivities drew to a close, Bierman thanked the parents for their efforts before delivering the final verdict on the success of the event.
"I believe this has been the most amazing feast we've ever had," she said.