By, Amanda Janquart
I remember listening to a song by folk musician Greg Brown and being struck by the way he described “adult dark.” Kids were called in from playing outside in the evening, but it wasn’t really that dark yet. According to the kids, it only looked dark if you were inside yakking about gall bladders and such and glanced out the window. Why should they have to come in when it was just adult dark?
Being outside as the sky darkens can be thrilling to young children. Now add headlamps and a bunch of pals and take away those pesky grownups taking about boring stuff! Kid’s Night In, which upon reflection is more akin to Kid’s Night Out(side), is All Seasons Preschool’s annual fundraiser. It is a chance to explore favorite places that children have played in many times during the day without the daylight.
This year’s event was held in late February. Carting in a basket of outdoor gear and perhaps already in pajamas, children gathered in the Community Room. They could choose to play on blankets set up with Magnatiles, dry erase boards, train tracks, or books. Some chose to help prepare the long row of tables for dinner. Pizza was delivered and served up alongside bananas. After eating and taking a bathroom break (here is where planning ahead is key!), all the outdoor gear was donned.
Excitement was palpable as children in their small groups switched on headlamps and hit the trails. It wasn’t long before stars were visible. Groups scattered throughout the snowscapes, some climbing trees and some going sledding in the dark. In the pines, simply laying on backs and looking up was thrilling. On the golf course, hills were conquered, and children could look back towards the school to see all the little bobbing lights of those in the woods. Meeting back on the playground, pitchers of hot chocolate with marshmallows were waiting.
Exhausted bodies, closing in on bedtimes, snuggled up in sleeping bags back in the Community Room. Mr. Rogers’ voice soothed us all as we listened to him chat with Eric Carle, the author and illustrator of some very familiar books. We watched as he learned how Eric pieced together collages and even heard the author himself read one of his books. Then parents arrived, and the excitement level ramped back up. Children couldn’t wait to share the events of their night in, or rather, out!
Each month, approximately $3000 is distributed through the preschool’s scholarship fund. Thanks to the families who joined us and the teachers who volunteered, $850 was added to the program. We are happy the event is so well received with one child saying, “It was the best night of my life!”