Assemblies continue to be a cherished tradition for Lower School students, as they gather together, now via Zoom, for afternoons filled with music, entertainment and education each Thursday.
A recent assembly was led by Lower School Spanish teachers, Remedios López Polo and Isamar Rosado-Aponte, with the help of many others, with an over-arching theme of taking care of ourselves and others, and how and to whom we can give thanks.
While the assemblies follow a similar format, each encompasses new and unique aspects that make for a special gathering.
“Good afternoon Chapin, and Happy Thursday!” greeted a Class 3 student, as she effortlessly played a beautiful melody on the piano. Thus began the Lower School Asamblea with the words, ‘Yo me cudio y te cuido care,’ (I take care and I take care of you) glowing on the screen. The students engaged in a sing-along to the song “Springtime Primavera,” singing in both English and Spanish.
Suddenly, a loud noise echoed across the speakers. “Pepe, is that you?” asked Maestra Rosado. A bright orange puppet appeared, stretching his mouth open into what appeared to be a wide grin.
Pepe, a beloved Lower School friend, greeted the students with animated enthusiasm and displayed a video showcasing the virtual “playdates” he had recently participated in. The video highlighted a baking Zoom lesson with Maestra Rosado, a virtual hangout with Dot, another Lower School puppet pal, and free dancing with Class 1 Associate teacher Guoyi Cai.
After the video, their puppet friend instructed, “Everyone stand up!” It was time for ¡movimiento con Pepe! (movement with Pepe). The excited students did as they were told, rising from their chairs and wiggling their bodies.
The assembly continued with a read aloud of “The Thank You Book,” by Class 2 teacher Karina Herrera and Lower School Librarian Christina Kover. “How do we at Chapin care?” asked Ms. Herrera, after finishing the book. A Kindergarten student said that in her class, “We care for ourselves by drawing a picture, care for others by making cards for other people and we thank our families and the people who take care of us.”
Students in Classes 1 and 2 shared the ways they care, emphasizing the importance of being kind, washing your hands, being creative and following social distancing protocols. A Class 3 student underscored, “We thank nurses, doctors, parents, teachers, restaurant workers and people who work in our building.”
Images slowly emerged center screen, indicating how others are saying thank you around New York City. One photo of Bryant Park stood out as it displayed a heart in the middle of the lawn, carefully curated by the workers who maintain the park, as a message of love to New Yorkers. “You can see just how much love and gratitude people feel,” Head of Lower School Thérèse Cruite commented.
“Hora del Corazón,” (hour of the heart) Sra. Lopez stated. On cue, a sea of vibrant color and hearts of all sizes emerged as all 280+ friends lifted their own drawings up to their screens. All were quiet as they absorbed the touching tribute.
As the afternoon progressed, students enjoyed watching a Sesame Street music video of the song “Try A Little Kindness,” and a video in Spanish about the importance of washing your hands. They also enjoyed seeing photos of their peers that were sent in for last week’s Earth Day challenge.
Lastly, Sra. Lopez led the students in a short reflection. “Close your eyes, if you feel comfortable,” she began. “Think about yourself and send yourself good thoughts. You will be healthy, happy, well…” she spoke the words quietly but matter-of-factly. The sending of positive thoughts continued, incorporating loved ones, parents and essential workers.
“Now think about Chapin! Friends, teachers, classmates,” she concluded. “Give them a virtual hug and send them warm and happy wishes. Remember that a little bit of kindness goes a long way!”