NORTH PLAINFIELD, NJ – East End School hosted its celebration of kites and kids on Earth Day today, continuing a more than 20 year old North Plainfield tradition. The annual event brings parents, teachers and students together in a wild 45 minute dash of color, flight and fun.
Each grade at East End, kindergarten through fourth, has a 45 minute window during the day to go out onto the side field with their homemade or store-bought kites and let them fly. The kids are overseen by the physical education department, but are also helped by parents and family members who come by to enjoy the festivities.
Corrine Cecola, one of two phys ed teachers working the field, welcomed the fourth graders outside at 8:35 just after they’d gotten settled and attendance was taken in homerooms. Four classes made up of over 90 students stood patiently in lines listening to safety instructions until she gave them permission to spread out. Within a minute the entire field was covered with kids running around trying to get their kites in the air.
“One of our school objectives is to get the kids more involved in nature, and this is a great way to get them outside and learning about using the wind to get things done,” said Cecola. “It’s also good that they’re outside in such beautiful weather.”
Kindergarten through third grade got their chances to run and fly later in the day.
Brian Farrell, the new East End principal who started just a few weeks ago, thoroughly enjoyed his first Kite Day. He saw it as a sign that spring had finally arrived, but also a way to show the kids that the things they learn in the classroom can also turn in to fun on the field.
“This involves a lot of science and engineering to build and repair the kites, and flying them involves a good bit of physical fitness,” said Farrell, smiling as he watched the kids try to get their kites in the air on a somewhat windless day. “And it looks like they’re having a really good time.”
North Plainfield resident Anne Fellin has been coming to Kite Day for two decades, and was quite wistful noting that this was her next to last since her son will be in fourth grade next year, and then move on to another shcool. Fellis is also the East End Parent Teacher Organization President and very active in the Music Parents Association.
“I’ve had a child participating in Kite Day at East End for twenty years,” Fellin said. “Of all the different activities I do with my kids during the year, this is one of my favorites.”
Any time you have close to 100 children with kites on a field there are going to be complications, not the least of which are broken strings and torn plastic. The school set out two repair tables full of wooden dowels, tape, scissors and string to take care of these issues.
Donna Lindemeyer, who spent a lot of time repairing kites including for her own daughter, enjoyed her time at East End. “It’s an excellent way to change up the school day, enjoy spring, and combine learning and fun.”