KinderCare Thanksgiving Feast is Gratitude for Everything

The annual turkey feast at Monterey Hills Elementary School brought out nearly 40 kids in KinderCare who dined on a traditional Thanksgiving meal with all the trimmings.  Photos by Steve Whitmore

Thanksgiving through the eyes of a child is sometimes a perfect reminder why the rest of us should be grateful for the everyday things that often time we overlook.

That most assuredly was the message a-week-ago Friday when 38 four and five-year-olds banded together in Mrs. Amy Soto-Jimenez KinderCare class at Monterey Hills Elementary School in South Pasadena.

The kids came together to enjoy a turkey feast with all the trimmings dished out by Soto-Jimenez, teacher aids Melissa Aguirre and Brittnee Sanchez along with a dedicated parent.

But before the kids could settle down into their feast, they had to recount one thing that they were grateful.

Soto-Jimenez went around the classroom asking each child and the answers flew back that included “family,” “Mom,” “my house,” “the fall festival,” “neighbors,” “my school,” “music,” “flowers,” “my toys,” and one said, “my mom and dad being happy.”

Family was the predominant answer, while one child mentioned a beloved pet that just passed away with sadness in her eyes, while still another said, “everything God has done.”

Soto-Jimenez has been at Monterey for the past decade and she said it’s always a joy to have the Thanksgiving feast with the KinderCare kids. KinderCare is for kindergarten and pre-kindergarten students.

“It’s (KinderCare at Monterey) been around for about 15 years and it’s a great program,” she said after serving up the feast of turkey, corn, mashed potatoes, mac ‘n’ cheese, rolls and juice. “I’ve been the lead teacher for KinderCare for two years but have worked the program for 10 as an assistant before that. I have always wanted to be a teacher and this is the best.”

As she turned back to the kids, who were enjoying the feast with youthful gusto, she said “Happy Thanksgiving” to them, and without prompting, the kids in unison bellowed back, “Happy Thanksgiving.”