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Christmas pajama project

When the children in the preschool/pre-kindergarten class at St. Monica-St. Michael School in Barre were asked how many of them had warm pajamas to wear this winter and enjoyed bedtime reading, a sea of small hands went up.
 
But they also know that before going to sleep not every child has warm pajamas – or any pajamas – to put on or a book to read – or have read to them.
 
So for the second year, the teachers of the youngest children at the Catholic school are spearheaded a pajama drive, this year opening it not only to members of their class but to the school and wider community as well.
 
Marianne Goodrich and Nancy Durgin, preschool/pre-kindergarten teachers, want their students to understand that there are other children who do not have all that they have and that even the youngest children can help.
 
“They’re learning to be merciful to others,” Durgin said. “They’re learning Jesus wants us to help His people because we’re all His people.”
 
The 18 children in the class are eager to learn and have taken the lessons to heart. “Jesus wants us to be kind to others; that’s what they are doing,” Durgin said.
 
This pre-Christmas pajama drive was done in conjunction with Scholastic Reading Club, which pairs pajamas with an age-appropriate book for each recipient. The sets were donated to a local shelter or shelters.
 
Since 2009, Scholastic Reading Club classrooms have collected and donated nearly 500,000 pairs of pajamas to Pajama Program through the Great Bedtime Story Pajama Drive.
 
Brand-new pajamas in all sizes, from newborn to adult, were needed. Pajamas had to be complete sets -- a top and bottom or an appropriate nightgown. The garments were needed for all seasons but especially for the winter months.
 
“Because this is the Year of Mercy, we thought it would be wonderful to include the whole school and local parish, hoping to get the community involved too,” Goodrich said.
 
Some of the children go shopping with their parents to purchase the new pajamas to donate to the drive, sometimes buying ones they would like or already have at home. “They are so excited to bring them in. It makes me happy,” Goodrich said.
 
Popular in the St. Monica-St. Michael preschool/pre-kindergarten pajama world were those bearing images of cats, Batman, Spiderman, Captain America, cows, turtles and trucks. Some of the children like pajamas with feet.
 
Without warm pajamas this winter, children would be cold and sad, said prekindergarten student Sadia Riso.
 
Classmate Alexis Corrigan said it would not be comfortable to sleep in school clothes.
 
So having new pajamas and a new book just in time for Christmas will, the students chimed in, help make recipients feel warm, happy, comfortable and loved. 
 
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