Military families move about once every three years: That’s 10 times more often than civilian families. Moving day can make anyone feel a mix of sadness, apprehension, and excitement, so when kindergarten teacher Julie Perez learned that Myla, one of her students at the Pleasanton, Calif., KinderCare center (and a military child), was going to move across the country, she set about creating a fun project that would connect both Myla and her friends as she journeyed to her new home.
“Myla’s dad is in the military and he was transferred to New Jersey,” Julie said. “Even though she’d only been at our center for a year, at her age friendships are important. I was sad to hear that she was leaving. I knew the kids would miss her. All year long last year they talked about going to first grade together and riding the bus to KinderCare. They were sad she wouldn’t be there for that.”
Julie had a giant map in her classroom and she thought it would be fun for Myla’s friends to track her progress as she and her family drove across the country. Myla’s parents thought this was a great idea and agreed to take photos of some of the sights they saw along the way as digital postcards for “Where in the United States is Myla.”
Myla’s former classmates also enjoyed following Myla’s progress across the country.
“It was a big deal when Myla’s family crossed the Mississippi River,” said Julie. “We learned about the pioneers last year. The children thought of Myla’s trip as the opposite of the pioneer journey we learned about.”
By the time Myla and her family reached New Jersey, her friends back in California felt like they’d all become pioneers for a bit – crossing the country and seeing the sights from coast to coast.