When Esther Alamo took over the role of being the early childhood (pre-K) supervisor for the North Bergen school district last December, she wanted to make sure that the district’s 4-year-old students were treated with the utmost care.
“I thought it would be nice if we took the kids apple-picking at an orchard in the fall,” Alamo said.
Little did she know that the children, who attend pre-K classes inside Bruins Stadium in North Hudson Braddock Park, had always been treated to a pumpkin-picking party each year outside the trailers where they attend classes. It’s been part of the early childhood program since it was initiated six years ago.
“This is something that the kids really look forward to,” Alamo said.
So once again, the students of the North Bergen pre-K were treated to their very own pumpkin patch. More than 300 pumpkins were strategically placed all around Bruins Stadium, right outside the classrooms, so the children could run out and pick a pumpkin of their choice.
The students were also treated to apple cider and donuts as part of their celebration that drew Mayor Nicholas Sacco and members of the Board of Commissioners.
“I was very impressed,” Alamo said of Sacco’s appearance. “He was there for both the morning and afternoon sessions and posed for every picture with the kids. He’s always there for us.”
Each student was able to select a pumpkin, purchased by the Board of Education from D&G Landscaping in Ridgefield. The teachers then labeled each pumpkin with the child’s name, and then they were able to take the pumpkin home.
There are 240 registered children in the early childhood program, but Alamo purchased 300 pumpkins, just in case a parent brought a younger sibling to the festivities.
“We didn’t want any child to feel left out,” Alamo said. “We wanted every kid there to leave with a pumpkin.”
This year’s party was a little different. Instead of allowing each classroom to go out into the pumpkin patch separately, there were six classes at a time that were able to run free and enjoy the field of orange.
“I thought it was much more fun for the children that way,” Alamo said. “It was great to see them all going out at the same time in search for pumpkins. It was one of the coldest days so far, but we managed. The kids had a great time.”
Alamo said that the entire early childhood staff, from administrators and teachers to custodians and teacher’s aides, all chipped in to make the day a rousing success.
“This was my first pumpkin picking event and I absolutely loved it,” said Alamo, who took over as supervisor for Al Tommasso last December, when Tommasso was promoted to a principal’s position. “It was so nice to see all the kids out. It was like a fair. It was very surreal. It’s a tradition now and I’m not going to do anything to change it.”
Apple plan came to fruit-ion
However, Alamo’s plan for an apple-picking excursion also took place. The kids were transported to an orchard at Alstede Farms in Chester soon after the pumpkin-picking event, so they could enjoy apples as well.
“We decided to do both this year and they both turned out nice,” Alamo said.
Next up: Santa’s workshop at the pre-K headquarters next month. These kids certainly keep busy.