Parading through town

KinderCare students were more than happy to show their enthusiasm for learning about the great outdoors, especially if it meant a chance to ride on the parade float.

KinderCare students were more than happy to show their enthusiasm for learning about the great outdoors, especially if it meant a chance to ride on the parade float.

“My team was looking for ways to get involved in community so when people are looking for childcare and preschools they think of KinderCare.” — Sally Angliss, district manager

This summer, when Ohio district manager Sally Angliss and her team tried to think of a community event their centers could be involved in, someone suggested the annual Kettering Holiday at Home parade. The event, which takes place on Labor Day weekend, draws crowds of up to 100,000 people to watch the mile-long parade of civic groups, marching bands, car clubs, veterans, and service organizations wind its way through town. It’s one of the largest parades in Ohio and the perfect opportunity for Sally and her team to promote KinderCare.

District Manager Sally Angliss knew this parade would be a wonderful opportunity to connect with the Kettering community - and she was right.

District Manager Sally Angliss knew this parade would be a wonderful opportunity to connect with the Kettering community – and she was right.

This year’s theme was “celebrating the great outdoors” and Sally thought that would be the perfect opportunity to showcase KinderCare’s unique curriculum. From watching children build on their fascination with the world, from seeing a bird’s nest on the playground to seeking out books about birds in the classroom, she knew she could incorporate that enthusiasm for learning about nature into KinderCare’s parade entry.

“I thought about all of the learning opportunities I see in the classrooms like caterpillar gardens and ant hills,” she said. “The kids love the outdoors and can learn so much from [it] so that’s what I wanted to emphasize.”

Center directors Kelly Cunningham, Karen Morales, and Jody Sweeney helped Sally build the parade float. Despite several “can we do this?” moments for the first-time float builders, the team was able to find most of the information they needed online and completed an outdoor garden float, complete with spots for children and teachers to ride, in time for the parade.

Parade day dawned rainy, much to the delight of the children on the float, but just like a story book, the weather cleared up in time for the parade and the children began

Teachers and students walked alongside the KinderCare float waving at the crowd, which included many former and current KinderCare families.

Teachers and students walked alongside the KinderCare float waving at the crowd, which included many former and current KinderCare families.

excitedly waving to the crowds of people lined up and down the main street.

“They were excited to be in the parade and really enjoyed saying hello to everyone and being the center of attention,” Sally said. “There were so many people there and it was great to hear their comments about KinderCare and our float.”

Audience members would call out “That was my center” or “KinderCare: I went there!” as the float passed by.

“The best part to me was when the teachers saw their children in the audience and ran out to hug them,” Sally said. “That was really touching for me. It really made you feel part of the community.”

Sally and her team had a great experience with this year’s Holiday at Home parade and are already planning their entry for next year.

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