Turkey talk: Kindergartners explain the Thanksgiving holiday

Turkey talk: Kindergartners explain the Thanksgiving holiday

Our annual pilgrimage led us this year to Pathfinder Kindergarten Center in Everett.

EVERETT — You can learn a lot about Thanksgiving by talking with the kids at Pathfinder Kindergarten Center in south Everett.

This fall the school behind Fairmount Elementary opened to about 500 students. All are in kindergarten on the Mukilteo School District campus. It’s a bright, colorful place. On the second floor, kids’ art projects are tacked all along the walls: a vibrant rainbow of papers, cut and pasted into turkeys of all shapes.

Students in Ms. McPherron’s class took a break from singalongs and other exhausting schoolwork this month to field some hardball questions about Thanksgiving, and their understanding of the holiday’s meaning.

Do you know the story of Thanksgiving?

Dante, 5: “No.”

Ben, 5: “I forgot.”

Rediet, 6: “Which story was it? The story was, ‘Who is going to cut the turkey?’ So the grandpa cut it.”

Savanah, 5: “Yes. The people, they made a house, and the people, they went on a boat, and the people helped them, and the people don’t know how to make food, and the people, um, helped them to make food, and plant food, and Thanksgiving is about getting happy.”

Madison, 5½: “No.”

Ethan, 5: “Kind of. I know the pilgrims went on the Mayflower. They also built a house, and they had a Thanksgiving, and that all happened in the 1620s.”

Jill, 6: “Yeah. It’s a time when people get together. Your family gets together.”

Silas, 5: “Not yet.”

Tayleah, 5: “They had no food. They had to kill the animals. They were hungry, and they had to kill the animals.”

Amya, 5: “Some people, they go in a boat, and some people died, and they got there, and some people helped them make food.”

Do you know when the first Thanksgiving was?

Savanah, 5: “Saturday.”

Jill, 6: “It started when people from other countries came to our country.”

Silas, 5: “Like, 60 months ago.”

Tayleah, 5: “Yesterday?”

Amya, 5: “It’s pretty old.”

Do you know who the pilgrims were?

Dante, 5: “They’re the people who were on the other side, and they came here, and they met the pilgrims.”

Kai, 6: “The people.”

Ben, 5: “They helped people grow food.”

Rediet, 6: “Pilgrims? I have a little thing over there, and my teacher wrote it, and she knows all about pilgrims. So the pilgrims rided on a boat, and then some of them died, because there was no food to eat, and then some of them got all the way to America. The Native Americans helped them to make food.”

Jill, 6: “They were the people that came to our country.”

Silas, 5: “The boys and the girls.”

Caleb: 5½. “George Washington.”

And who were the Native Americans, in the story?

Ben, 5: “I forgot.”

Rediet, 6: “They were standing like a soldier. They helped make food. They helped make vegetables. They also helped to make, I think, turkey? Then they had a big festival.”

Jill, 6: “They are the people that helped them to know how to plant stuff, and keep them alive.”

Silas, 5: “Warriors. They plant seeds.”

Why do people celebrate Thanksgiving?

Dante, 5: “To celebrate the world.”

Savanah, 5: “Because they get to eat turkey, and the turkey doesn’t want to be eaten.”

Jill, 6: “Because we love the people in our family.”

How do you celebrate Thanksgiving?

Dante, 5: “I go to a feast. Not really.”

Kai, 6: “I do some stuff with my family. My dad makes food, and I sit at the table.”

Ben, 5: “Eat turkey.”

Rediet, 6: “My family, they have a big party with everybody coming to my house.”

Ethan, 5: “I celebrate it, with a Thanksgiving dinner.”

Jill, 6: “We stay home.”

Aaliyah, 5: “I just play games. Hide and seek.”

What are you doing for Thanksgiving this year?

Dante, 5: “Lots of stuff.”

Ben, 5: “We don’t go anywhere, we just stay at our house.”

Savanah, 5: “I’m going to be with my mommy and my sister and my auntie and my brother, and we’re going to celebrate Thanksgiving.”

Do you help to cook?

Kai, 6: “I don’t know how to cook.”

Rediet, 6: “No, I’m not big enough yet!”

Savanah, 5: “Getting the things in the pan, and getting the turkey.”

Ethan, 5: “No, because I’m just 5 years old.”

Jill, 6: “I help them when they make the turkey. I help them push the oven closed.”

Silas, 5: “I help my mama, and I have a brother.”

Tayleah, 5: “My mom lets me help make donuts and cupcakes.”

Amya, 5: “I watch.”

How would you cook a turkey?

Kai, 6: “By carving it first, and then I would cook it.”

Ben, 5: “Put it in the oven.”

Rediet, 6: “I don’t know how!”

Ethan, 5: “In the oven, I guess.”

What’s your favorite thing to eat on Thanksgiving?

Dante, 5: “Pineapple.”

Kai, 6: “Turkey.”

Rediet, 6: “Turkey!”

Savanah, 5: “Turkey.”

Jill, 6: “Turkey.”

Silas, 5: “A lot of stuff, but not fish.”

Lucien, 6: “Whipped cream, on the turkey.”

Aaliyah, 5: “Macaroni and cheese.”

Tayleah, 5: “Ice cream and donuts.”

Caleb, 5½: “Strawberry cake.”

Amya, 5: “Turkey and hard candy.”

What’s the grossest thing to eat on Thanksgiving?

Dante, 5: “Turkey. It’s too much to eat.”

Kai, 6: “I usually don’t like sardines.”

Rediet, 6: “Candy. But I like candy.”

Silas, 5: “The fish.”

Lucien, 6: “Rotten turkey.”

Tayleah, 5: “Peas.”

Amya, 5: “Not-cooked turkey.”

How much can you eat?

Dante, 5: “This much.”

Kai, 6: “Like, 31.”

Ben, 5: “Two helpings.”

Rediet, 6: “I like eating six candies. I like Skittles.”

Savanah, 5: “Only one thing at a time.”

Ethan, 5: “It depends on how much the food is.”

Jill, 6: “Like, seven or six plates.”

Caleb, 5½: “Fifty-four.”

Where does all that food come from?

Savanah, 5: “Some things are from the store, and some things, people know how to make it.”

Jill, 6: “We buy the food and then we cook it, so we can have a big Thanksgiving turkey.”

Silas, 5: “Anywhere.”

Tayleah, 5: “From my mom’s house, and my grandma’s house, and my papa’s house.”

Caleb, 5½: “Vegetables.”

Amya, 5: “From the farm, I think.”

Have you ever seen a turkey?

Dante, 5: “It’s feathers, and there’s a beak, and other stuff.”

Kai, 6: “I don’t remember. I saw it in a movie. I watched it with my dad.”

Ben, 5: “No.”

Rediet, 6: “It does look like a real turkey, but the legs are down back. I had it in my other country (Ethiopia), and that was different, and it looked still the same as usual.”

Ethan, 5: “I’ve seen a chick before. Like, a chick in a chicken. The chicks were yellow, and the chickens were big.”

Jill, 6: “It has like the turkey leg on the side. It doesn’t have a beak. It has meat.”

Lucien, 6: “It used to be alive, but then you eat it.”

What does a turkey look like?

Kai, 6: “I don’t remember. Fat?”

Savanah, 5: “It has the red thing under it. It has wings and it has feathers.”

Madison, 5½: “It has some feathers.”

Tayleah, 5: “Gross. You kill it, because you make clothes out of animals.”

What does a turkey sound like?

Kai, 6: “It sounds like this. Gobble gobble.”

Ben, 5: “Gobble.”

Rediet, 6: “Bock bock, ba-bock!”

Savanah, 5: “Tough. It’s really hard. It’s really hard to say. The girl and the boy turkey, they make different sounds. Boy turkey goes like this: ‘Gobble gobble.’ And the girl turkey goes like this: ‘Uh … uh … um … ah.’ The boy turkey is really easy to do. But the girl turkey, it’s really hard to say.”

Ethan, 5: “Caw caw!”

Jill, 6: “It sounds kind of like a chicken.”

What do they do all day?

Dante, 5: “Eat?”

Ben, 5: “Gobble.”

Rediet, 6: “It walks around.”

Jill, 6: “It runs around. It does not want to be eaten for Thanksgiving.”

Aaliyah, 5: “Sometimes they can make the sun come up.”

Amya, 5: “They fly, I think. They peck at the ground, maybe.”

Are turkeys smart?

Ben, 5: “A little.”

Rediet, 6: “No! They don’t even have a brain!”

Savanah, 5: “Not that smart. Their brain is a little tiny and it’s a little big.”

Ethan, 5: “I haven’t even seen a turkey. OK, I don’t know.”

Tayleah, 5: “As smart as a kindergartner.”

What would a turkey say if it could talk?

Dante, 5: “Bock bock.”

Like, if a turkey could talk in English?

Dante, 5: “Haha, I don’t know! I don’t know.”

Ben, 5: “Give me food.”

Rediet, 6: “Maybe the same thing they usually say.”

Savanah, 5: “They kind of sound like Japanese people, but not that much.”

Amya, 5: “Please don’t cook me.”

What’s the greatest thing a turkey has ever done?

Lucien, 6: “Fly.”

What are you thankful for?

Dante, 5: “The world.”

Kai, 6: “I’m thankful for God.”

Rediet, 6: “I’m thankful for my family.”

Savanah, 5: “I’m thankful for my family.”

Ethan, 5: “The pilgrims and my family.”

Jill, 6: “I’m thankful for the food that I have, and my family.”

Lucien, 6: “Candy. Pez and Smarties.”

Tayleah, 5: “My mom and dad, and cookies and donuts and ice cream.”

Caleb, 5½: “Fish and sharks.”

Amya, 5: “For my parents, and my mom, and my baby brother.”

Caleb Hutton: 425-339-3454; chutton@heraldnet.com. Twitter: @snocaleb.

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