Pre-schoolers at the Starrett Early Learning Center (ELC) had an early holiday treat last week. Jordan Carrasquillo’s mom Diane, a pastry chef, made a guest visit to his kindergarten class to teach the art of creating a gingerbread house.
Making a gingerbread house is a holiday tradition at the Carrasquillo home. “Since he was excited about making it for Christmas, I thought it would be even more fun to do it with friends at school,” Carrasquillo said.
“We’ve wanted to do something with more family engagement with the students,” said ELC’s director Susan Plesnitzer, who welcomed her idea.
Loaded with the building blocks of a perfect house – crisp ginger biscuits cut into parts of a house, miniature candy canes, mints and vanilla frosting, Carrasquillo met with Jordan and his classmates. While telling the four-year olds where to place the different candy pieces, Jordan’s mom could not help but notice several eyeing the sweets with hungry eyes.
“Some were tempted to eat the materials,” she said with a chuckle. One young girl, whose fingers were covered with frosting, whispered to Carrasquillo she had eaten some of the frosting “and it was so yummy.”
Like professional chefs, the kindergarten students meticulously decorated their gingerbread house, its roof and gumdrop fence. And they skillfully applied and decorated it with vanilla icing using a pastry bag.
“It was great seeing the children light up while making the gingerbread house,” Carrasquillo said and that it is something she would like to do with them again. Equally pleased and excited about repeating the activity, Plesnitzer said it combined fun, teamwork and an opportunity for the children to share in a fun holiday tradition.
Plesnitzer is looking forward to incorporating more activities with students and their parents.
By Amanda Moses
EDITED BY AGNES E. GREEN