The Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade doesn’t hold a candle to teddy bears — at least as far as the Riverdale Temple Nursery School in concerned.
With their stuffed nighttime buddies in hand, the young children from the Independence Avenue school walked around Riverdale Temple’s auditorium in their pajamas in a sweet procession organizers there like to simply call the teddy bear parade.
“It’s just fun to see how the children love coming in their pajamas,” said nursery director Linda Herman. “Then they see teachers in pajamas and that’s really just so special. It’s just different. It’s a different day for them.”
Pajamas ranged from Minions from the “Despicable Me” film series, to princess print. After the children marched around the auditorium, they gathered in front of Herman for a bedtime story like it was bedtime.
Teachers came dressed for beddy-bye in their onesies and sweatpants. One teacher donned pink rollers while others rocked classic messy buns and bedhead. It was like a runway for the rudely awaken.
There was nothing but naptime couture, but the children were ready for anything but a siesta.
There’s few better ways to express who someone really is than through their choice of pajamas, and parents of the parading kids are enjoying the results, including Stephanie Stone, mother of 2-year-old Emerie Stone.
“It’s amazing seeing how Emerie has grown so much and how comfortable she is,” Stone said of her daughter, who wore pajamas with “Sesame Street” character Elmo, with splashes of Cookie Monster.
“She was so scared and shy the first few months of school, so to watch her march around the school with her friends and sitting and participating is absolutely amazing.”
However, this isn’t Stone’s first parade. Her other two children participated in the procession when they attended the nursery. Their experience was so memorable, Stone said, they still talk about it.
As excited as Emerie was about the teddy bear parade, she wasn’t just rolling out of bed for the event. She took a lot of time deciding which doll to bring, finally narrowing it down between Elmo and “Frozen” character Elsa. In the end, however, Elsa won, with Elmo earning an appearance on Emerie’s sleep-time apparel.
After the parade, Herman read “Goodnight Moon” by Margaret Wise Brown, which was turned into an interactive activity for the kids through call and response. Then the students were led in song and exercise through nursery rhymes like “Teddy Bear, Teddy Bear” and “Brush Your Teeth.” The action-motivated music, accompanied by a live guitar, allowed the kids to mime the behavior they sung about, like tying their shoes, spinning around and cleaning their teeth.
After dancing and singing, the kids all sat together for breakfast. They ate fruits, cereal and other breakfast food items.
It’s events like these, Herman said, that helps the kids understand what it means to be a part of the nursery school.
“It’s really about building community and the whole school getting together,” she said. “Usually we gather by grade level, but here the twos, threes and fours get together and sing. It’s not a performance. It’s just really to have fun.”
However, the fun doesn’t stop at the teddy bear parade for the Riverdale Temple Nursery. The school also hosts potlucks for Thanksgiving, holiday singing during the latter months, and even crazy hat day. Since the school has expanded to more than 100 children, it’s important for Herman that the students see each other beyond the halls.
“There’s such heart in this school,” Stone said. “And it’s such an amazing community that Emerie loves. She loves being with her friends and teachers. So it was important for her to come and participate in the parade.”