Children’s School goes on parade to celebrate Independence Day

Children’s School students on parade near the Amphitheater in 2011. The 2012 parade route keeps the kids on Bestor Plaza at its conclusion. Daily file photo.

Leah Harrison | Staff Writer

At approximately 10 a.m. today on the steps of the Colonnade, Children’s School will engage in historic local and national traditions.

After parading from the Children’s School to Bestor Plaza — a tradition dating back more than 50 years — children will sing patriotic songs, including Woody Guthrie’s “This Land is Your Land.” Guthrie’s famous 1940 folk song originally spread and was popularized by children who learned it in school; when those children grew up, a nation knew and loved the song.

Music teacher Annie Palmquist prepares the children for their performance and will accompany them on the guitar this morning.

In addition to Guthrie’s song, the children will sing “Yankee Doodle,” “Children’s School Song,” “Yankee Doodle Boy” and “Our Flag is Red.” Caroline Acker and Jackson Kuhn will sing verse solos in “Yankee Doodle,” and the 6- and 7-year-olds from Boys’ and Girls’ Club will sing their “Club Song.”

In years past, the children have marched to the Amphitheater to continue singing, but the extent of their performance this year will take place on Bestor Plaza.

The parade begins at 9:45 a.m. from Children’s School, proceeds down Pratt and circles the plaza before settling on the Colonnade steps. A fire engine, the local community band and a decorated school bus will join the children.

Earlier this week, Children’s School prepared by learning songs and crafting colorful costumes, banners and decorated wagons for the parade. Another favored tradition this week is Tramenger Flagenger — a game in which groups of 5-year olds compete to find the most flags on the grounds.

They also read stories about the Fourth of July and talk about celebrations, including Henry’s Fourth of July, We Go Together and Hats Off for the Fourth of July.

“At age 3, you may not be connecting with American Independence,” said Kit Trapasso, Children’s School director, “but at least you’re getting an idea of why we celebrate the Fourth of July. We teach children about celebrations and family and why we do things together on this day.”

Several years ago, Weeks Three and Four had the largest Children’s School enrollment. But for approximately the last decade, Week 2 has replaced them. Families enjoy the national holiday together, while giving their children an opportunity to celebrate center stage.