by Amanda Janquart
Ending the week with big bowls of popcorn, a bit of a movie, and plenty of togetherness is a much-loved shared activity between All Seasons preschoolers and the Willow Cove residents of Inver Glen. The enticing smell of popcorn being made on Friday mornings cues the children for what is to come. To end the morning, preschoolers go to either East or West (the two sides of Willow Cove) and arrive with smiles, handshakes and hugs. While it is a relaxed atmosphere, respect is ever present. Cups of popcorn are hand delivered to the Grandmas and Grandpas by the children before they receive their own. Patience and courtesy are strengthened. After all are ready, some snuggled up with seniors, the movie is started. For 15 to 20 minutes we are all on the same page, connecting through shows chosen to appeal to both generations. The first to be shown years ago were old cartoons, but there were varied opinions about which ones were good. Some weren’t old enough for the seniors to remember, some were clearly sexist and racist, and some were plain annoying. Mighty Mouse was a favorite, but it was hard to find enough episodes. There was a progression to full-length movies that were shown over months, with musicals clearly favored. In recent years, we have seen Lassie, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, and Swiss Family Robinson. We are currently watching Mary Poppins, for the third year in a row! It is undoubtedly a hit for all involved. There is singing, dancing, imagination, humor, and even a few “good tears” from the adults when Jane and Michael Banks choose to use their tuppence to feed the birds. Watching the relationships grow, both on and off the screen, is Academy Award worthy.
Families were asked to weigh in on how our movie time with the Grandmas and Grandpas shows up outside of the school experience. The responses were reminders that what we do can have lovely and lasting repercussions.
“We have definitely seen movie time spill over into our home! Last year Isaac adored Mary Poppins and often performed Step in Time at home. When we get to school on Fridays, he loves smelling the popcorn because he knows that means a trip upstairs for movies with the grandmas and grandpas. He loved telling stories from Swiss Family Robinson as well, which was neat because those were two movies I really enjoyed as a kid.”
“Max is very proud to serve the grandmas and grandpas popcorn. It doesn’t even matter what movie is on, he will always tell me if he got to pass out popcorn… and how many scoops of popcorn he had.”
“Maddie asks that I sing each of the songs from Mary Poppins daily. She also requested that we draw pictures that we can pretend to jump into. Then she talks about what we’d do in the pictures like “go the zoo” or “ride on a merry-go-round.”
“”Oooh, I smell popcorn!” Rivers loves Fridays because he loves watching a movie and eating popcorn with the Grandma and Grandpas. He had never seen Mary Poppins until watching it at preschool and he fell in love with its music. We bought the soundtrack to play in the car and he belted out the songs! We visited Disney World last September and
one of his favorite things was meeting Mary Poppins at Epcot! He even sang Supercalafragalistic to her! It’s so heartwarming for the preschoolers and Grandma and Grandpas to have these movies and music to connect with one another!”
“Gavin was singing a song at home one day and his dad didn’t recognize it and asked him where he learned it. Gavin replied, ‘Mary Poppins!’”
“Annemarie and I were walking out of school on Friday. I asked her about the movie. She said, “We are watching Mary Poppins. The last time we watched Mary Poppins Grandma Margaret was with me. I really miss my Grandma Margaret. We used to snuggle and eat popcorn together. I always gave her popcorn first and we’d sit by the window. I used to take care of her and she used to take care of me.”
“Laney loves the movie time- She is always coming home sharing about what they watched. She then makes me play the music at home- she even has Malia (her sister) singing Mary Poppins songs now. It’s fun to see her enjoy movies from a different generation.”
“We were talking about the movie Friday night and Gabe kept saying, “I don’t know why the grandmas get the popcorn first and we get the popcorn first [I’m sure he meant second]. I talked about how it’s important to be kind to elderly people, and that he’s learning to be kind to them and learning patience. Hopefully something is sinking in!”
“Falcon always notes the smell of the popcorn when we come in on Fridays and says, “It’s movie day with the Grandmas and Grandpas!” He enjoys it quite a bit. He will sometimes reference the movie later, asking if we can watch it at home, especially if it is Chitty Bang Bang or Mary Poppins. He seems to enjoy the songs and dancing, which I think is also something he tends to do with the grandmas and grandpas. There are also times when we’ve greeted some of the grandmas on our way into school, and the movie experience is one they can reference and recall together, which is lovely camaraderie.”
“The first day Eli came home from school signing supercalifragilisticexpialidocious, I don’t think we could quite make out what he was saying. It took him about 10 times to say it before we caught on, and I didn’t even realize that was from Mary Poppins so I had no idea where he had learned that word! Now he says it like an old pro, very strong pronunciation. Eli always asks if it’s going to be a popcorn day on his way to school and he actually tells us little bits about the movie as we are playing at home. We actually dvr’d the movie because it was on TV over Christmas break, so we’ve had an opportunity to watch parts of it with him. It’s been fun to have him explain the parts of the movie to us as we watch them.”
Singing songs from Mary Poppins spills over into our community sing-alongs.