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I am sure your family has been talking about Halloween and how your traditional celebration will be altered by COVID-19. We share your desire to hold on to the ways we can all celebrate safely. So far this fall, so many things have seen changes. For example, the first day of school and after-school activities have not had the emphases of the past.

In some cases, these changes represent real losses. But there is also a danger of adults overstating these losses, overlooking the good that we’re able to retain and projecting our own disappointments onto our kids. We have certainly seen that kids are adaptable, and changes are not always terrible.

In the case of Halloween, this year will be different — but that doesn’t mean it won’t be fun. We adults are committed to a vision. Kids just want some M & M’s.

At Shady Oak, we are promoting the City of Richmond movie night on Friday, Oct. 30. It will be shown at Wessendorf Park beginning at dusk. The Rotary Club will be popping and serving free popcorn. We invite families to pack your picnic supper and go to the part before the movie (in costumes, of course!) to gather in class groups. There will be a Shady Oak staff member or parent with a sign for Acorns, Sprouts, and Squirrels. You can spread your blankets or chairs and allow your children to safely play with their school friends. This is not a school sponsored event; rather, we are promoting this as a safe way to enjoy friends and celebrate Halloween with others.

On Thursday, Oct. 29, the Sprouts class kiddos are invited to arrive at school dressed as favorite storybook characters. Children in other classes will enjoy seeing and hearing about these characters. On Friday, Oct. 30, all classes are invited to come as storybook characters. We are working with Ft. Bend County Judge K.P. George and his staff at the “old Courthouse” on a joint celebration. They would like to celebrate safely with our school in some way. Hopefully, we can walk there and have a parade outdoors on the sidewalk around the Courthouse. We will have more details on that in the next email blasts.

Traditionally, Shady Oak classes prepare food for our Thanksgiving feasts in mid-November. We are planning to keep up that tradition this year, with a few changes. Parents will not be able to come in to help us with serving, but we believe we can still make that happen. Each class prepares a side dish for the feast, and I roast the turkey. Your child(ren) will need to bring a mask to wear while preparing food in the days preceding the feast. All classes will enjoy the feast on Wednesday, Nov. 18. The T/Th Sprouts will have their feast on Thursday, Nov. 19. Food preparations will happen on the days preceding the feast. Your child’s teachers will let you know which days to provide a mask for your child. Ashley will be sending out the food sign-up list to help us gather our groceries the week preceding the feasts.

In recent years, staff, children, and parents at both Shady Oak Schools have enjoyed our Week of Giving in early December. That week will definitely be impacted by us not having our traditional Festival of Trees in the Art Studio in the Primary Building. But, again, we are moving ahead with some plans that involve changes. Our schools’ Christmas program will be held on Friday, Dec. 4, at 5:30 on the steps of the beautiful Moore House a couple of blocks north of us. This is where we had our program last year. This event will kick off the second annual Community Christmas Walk. We will join 10-12 (or more) other businesses and homes in our immediate vicinity (and north of Jackson Street to Morton Street) that will decorate the outside of their buildings and have some kind of display, including lights, that will provide magic wonder for an outdoor walk that will begin at 6 p.m. A walking map with all the participants marked will be provided before the event so you can plan the route to match your family’s timetable. We need volunteers to help prepare our festive outdoor decor on December 2-4. Please send an email if you are available on any of those days for a couple of hours or more.

So, mark your calendars! We are so happy to be looking forward to some wonderful ways to make memories in this crazy year of 2020!!

I am so happy to be on this journey with all of you.
Peace and Love,
Joyce

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