Even though teachers at Soboba Tribal Preschool have been keeping students updated on their lessons and are available for parents at any time, they have missed seeing the little ones’ faces since the school was closed on March 16 amid the coronavirus pandemic. Earlier this month, the teachers and staff took to the streets at and around the Soboba Band of Luiseño Indians Reservation where the school is located to offer some smiles.
“The parents have been very diligent in keeping their children home so we thought we would parade through the streets to cheer them up a bit and see all of our little ones,” preschool director Dianne King said. “We are all feeling quite empty these days without the sound and laughter of children at the preschool.”
Gathering resources within the tribe, the group was able to put together a float to use in the parade. Harold Arres, Regional Prevention Manager for the Soboba Tribal TANF program, offered use of his trailer without hesitation.
“Harold has had many of his children attend the preschool and is always willing to give a hand,” King said. “
Joseph Ontiveros, Tribal Historic Preservation Officer at Soboba’s Cultural Resource department, had his team deliver bales of hay for the trailer riders. King’s husband, Derrick, who is currently working from home volunteered to drive the float. Participants passed out goody bags full of treats, stickers and rewards to the excited children who were in front of their homes to greet the parade.
“We were careful to maintain social distancing during the parade and handed out the treats with gloves as everyone is very cautious these days to maintain CDC recommendations,” King said. “The parents were asked not to gather but to just get outside for a bit and join the fun. It was a touching moment for all. We realized how close we really are as a preschool family.”
The trailer was escorted by Vanessa Peralta, an officer from the Soboba Department of Public Safety and parent of preschooler Isaiah Peralta.
“With lights and horns, Vanessa led us throughout the reservation to include the community of Soboba Springs Golf Course,” King said. “Everyone in the neighborhood was quick to check out what was going on. Many were waving back at us as we were dancing to music on the float. I think everyone was appreciative to have some positive vibes flowing through their neighborhoods during this very intense time of our lives.”
King admitted the school closure has taken a toll on everyone, but felt the parade provided some joy to get everyone through the next few weeks.
Photos courtesy of Soboba Band of Luiseño Indians