Under the guidance of
the school's teacher, Nada Kline, and its administrator/director, Connie Brown, these pint-sized patriots made felt flags, raised $13 for the Afghani children (thirteen attended class that day), and sent a letter to President Bush letting him know that they were doing their part.
Both Nada and Connie came to school the day after Bush's press conference with the same thought. "We were doing the letter "f" when the president asked us to help," says Nada, referring to how the flag project got started. "We wanted to make it relevant.
She points out that even among her three-, four- and five-year olds there was "a definite level of anxiety" in the aftermath of the terrorist strikes. "We had to let the kids know that they are safe here," she says.
Connie says, "Most of the kids didn't talk about it."
But of those who did mention something, Connie remembers one five-year-old saying, "I'll never go on a plane again. I pray for them (the victims) all the time.
"We wanted to make them feel proud of their country," continues Connie, "and make them feel they can make a difference and do something to help even as young as they are."
So the preschoolers got to work. They made their felt flags, and displayed them around Morningside, had their picture taken with the flags by the school's flag in the courtyard, sent that picture to the president, and eventually took the flags home. Then, they wrote a letter to the president, signed it, and sent their dollars to the aid of the Afghani children.
"I say a prayer in church, in school, and at home," said five-year-old Emilie about her concern for the Afghani children. "I wish the money... they could buy things like clothes and computers."
Pearl, one of the four-year-olds, hopes that their donation to the Afghani children "buys beautiful stuff for them...put stuff in their room."
Pearl's brother Drew says, "They need coats. It's a very cold place." His reaction to the school's help program, "It made me feel better. I hope the kids in Afghanistan bring the money home."
Zach, another four-year-old who with brother Drew and sister Pearl are triplets, gave a decided affirmative nod when asked if he had felt good about making the flags and writing the letter. He also agreed that is was special what he and his classmates did.
Olivia, a three-year-old, hopes that the "kids in Afghanistan feel excited" when the Morningside donations arrive. If the Afghani children were to come to her school, Olivia said she "would show them how to do Play Dough," adding that she would also give them a big hug.
Jessica at four said of their aid project, "It was a good thing so they could buy stuff, buy food, toys, and grown-up stuff. I feel good; I like helping kids."
She added that the reason she and her classmates did the help project was "because they (Afghani children) don't have any clothes, toys, or food." It was her hope that the Afghani children would "feel better...when they get it (the donations)."
Cassie, age three, said that she did the project "because it makes me smile." She went on to say that she hoped the Afghani children "feel good they got something from me."
Elizabeth, age five, also said, "I felt good when I did it. They can take the money and buy stuff."
Hope, also age five, pretty much in agreement with Cassie and Elizabeth, added that she would send another letter.
Connie Brown hopes that the project would create a lasting impression so that "the children would continue to help those in need."
"The parents were supportive and willing to give the dollars," says Nada Kline. "It was very good that they were responsible to have their children involved in this."
The Morningside Preschool Center, now in its tenth year, is a literary-based school run on the grounds of St. Mary's Episcopal Church. Dr. Rev. John Maher, Jr. is the congregation's rector.