Three-year-old Sophia G. Guillemette will tell you that what she learned most from preparing for the New Day Childrens Centers 14th annual Thanksgiving dinner was how to make miniature muffins.
What actually transpired during the dinner Tuesday at the center, 327 Franklin St., was a feast she helped create with her teachers and about 16 other 3-year-olds in her classroom, and a lesson about traditions.
This whole month weve talked about Thank you, said Christina M. Gardner, head teacher of New Days 3-year-old room. Thanksgiving is a big family time for me, and this is the time I like families to come.
Children, their siblings, parents, grandparents and teachers totaled about 50 people in the room. Before they dug into the feast of Cornish game hens, homemade pumpkin pies with homemade whipped cream, miniature muffins, corn bread and homemade butter, they sang songs about caring, sharing and coming together.
Somer L. Guillemette, Sophias mother, said that while her daughter has attended the day care center for only a few months, New Day has helped her realize the importance of getting together.
Ive seen her socializing so differently, Mrs. Guillemette said. This year holidays are better; shes excited to spend it with her friends.
Mya L. Brown, 3, peeked around, then lifted the lid to the pumpkin pie and stuck her finger in it for a taste before quickly putting the lid back on before the class got an OK to start the meal.
As children grabbed spoonfuls, and then just handfuls, of popcorn, or reached for more punch and pumpkin pie, they posed for pictures with family and classmates. Polite no thank yous were heard in between the many conversations around the table.
Mrs. Gardner, who has been a teacher at the center for 24 years, said the dinner has come a long way since its turkey and cheese kabobs 14 years ago. Now, children help churn butter and have their hands in every aspect of meal preparation and handcrafted table decorations of turkeys with colorful paper feathers and napkin holders.
Its a hands-on room, said Rebecca L. Scherbring, whose son, Clayton J., 3, is in the classroom.
Clayton said his favorite part was making the popcorn, because it popped out of the large bowl that was supposed to catch every kernel. He ate dinner next to his sister, Sophie L., 6, who attends Sherman Elementary School.
Mrs. Gardner said popcorn has become a staple of the meal, since Snoopy served popcorn on Thanksgiving during the Charlie Brown television special.
Some of the children said they were excited to help their mothers and fathers prepare their familys big Thanksgiving meal on Thursday, but for now, Sophia Guillmette said, she is thankful for the muffins.