Wee Wings tots pack gift boxes for Operation Christmas Child
By Phyllis Moore
Published in News on November 22, 2012 12:21 AM
Students in the Wayne County Public Schools Wee Wings mobile classroom put gifts into a box that will be donated to Operation Christmas Child. From left are: Haley Peacock, background, pre-school teacher in the program, Seth Holley, David Clark, Thomas Whitmore and Cooper Nunn.
Haley Peacock knows all about teachable moments.
The preschool teacher, in her second year with Wee Wings, is a cheerleader for the program that serves 3- and 4-year-olds.
"It's important for children to get into an early education program," she said.
The big blue bus travels to areas of the county underserved by such programs.
Wee Wings, a gutted-out yellow school bus converted into a mobile preschool classroom, was introduced in Wayne County Public School five years ago. In 2008, the county commission approved funding for a second bus.
A generator is used to keep the bus running, and eligible children attend classes two days a week, Monday and Wednesday or Tuesday and Thursday, for one hour and 45 minutes. It currently serves 120 children.
"All of our classes are full, but we still want to keep a waiting list in case children move during the year," Ms. Peacock said.
As the holidays approach, she is used to reading stories about turkeys and snowmen. But this year, she decided to go beyond the whimsical aspects and introduce a service project for the boys and girls.
"We have been talking about the holidays coming up. They all talk about Santa coming and we have discussed that there will be children that are not going to receive things," she said.
She suggested participating in Operation Christmas Child, a big drive each year to stuff boxes with items for children at Christmastime.
Ms. Peacock said she printed off a list of suggestions that could be donated and distributed them to her students' parents.
"Parents helped them do it at home and students will help me with mine," she explained of the activity. "The shoeboxes will then be donated to Operation Christmas Child."
Late last week, she gathered her class into a circle and reminded them that not everyone would receive a lot of toys and gifts at Christmas.
"Why don't we make a present for somebody that won't get anything for Christmas?" she asked. "Do you want to help me? You do? I have got lots of stuff in these boxes, and we have got lots of stuff in the box. We're going to make sure that this child has lots of stuff to do this Christmas."
With that, she divided the students into two groups -- one would work on a shoebox for a girl recipient and the other for a boy.
One by one, students picked an item to drop into the box -- from socks to toothpaste and toothbrush to a small stuffed animal.
Cooper Nunn, 3, picked out a stuffed animal and pencil.
"Kaden, will you put the train set in?" instructional assistant Sophia Washington suggested to another student.
"I put a train in the box," Kaden Simpson, 3, said proudly after making his contribution.
"Wow! Let me see the boxes," Ms. Peacock said as the activity wrapped up. "We have a humongous box filled with lots of things for your little boy and girl.
"I think we need some stickers. Y'all worked so hard. The children will really appreciate the presents a lot on Christmas."
Applications for students in the Wee Wings program are accepted throughout the year. Among the requirements is that the child must turn 3 by Aug. 3. More information can be found on the district website, www.waynecounty schools.org.