Katie Peterson | Staff Writer

Santa Claus and Mrs. Claus have chosen their Christmas tree for the holiday season, but it wasn’t the grandest tree of them all — it was the two littlest Christmas trees because they came with the message that Christmas is about love.

This was the theme of the MacArthur Elementary School kindergarten production of “The Littlest Christmas Trees” Dec. 17 and 18 in the school auditorium for their parents and peers.

Nearly 75 children — under the direction of MacArthur kindergarten teachers Kelly Jobbins, Ruth McFarland, Ashley Trieb and Sarah Williams, and instructional aide Carissa Youtz and MacArthur music teacher Sarah Morris — dressed up as snowflakes, elves, toy soldiers, snowmen and Christmas trees for the 20-minute production. It featured classic songs such as “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer” and “Frosty, the Snowman” and other songs such as “Suzy Snowflake” and “Christmas is Love.”

The production has been an annual tradition at MacArthur for more than 10 years.

“The kindergarteners have many Kansas standards that are communication based and revolve around speaking and listening. This is a perfect opportunity for them to practice these standards in a real world setting instead of a classroom,” Jobbins said. “This performance is also an amazing opportunity for our kindergarteners to use their social/emotional standards, which are taught through our Leader in Me program. In this performance, every student has an opportunity to use their leadership skills whether they contribute with a speaking part, dancing or singing.

“In the Leader in Me program, all students are leaders. It is about finding their strengths and what they can contribute to help us all learn from each other,” she said. “The kindergarteners learn so many life skills with this performance opportunity such as courage, pride, poise, perseverance, patience and, of course, caring and love.”

Gilda Bandru, mother of 5-year-old Charlie Bandru, who played a reindeer, said the students did a good job.

“It is great for the little time they have to practice,” Bandru said. “They definitely learn to be kind, and (Charlie) loves singing, so it opened up a lot of experience for him.”

Nancy Boatright, MacArthur special education teacher, said the production gets cuter every year.

“They put a lot of work and effort into it, and the kids really do their best when they’re out here, and I think they really love performing for their parents,” Boatright said. “I think it gives them confidence. It makes them proud of themselves because they’re being a leader in the school. They’re showing all the grade levels, ‘If we can do this, you can do this.’”

Five-year-old Logan Morris, who played Santa Claus, said he liked being in the show.

“It was so fun to be in the sleigh,” he said.

“Toy soldiers” Sam Mattos and Rick Roijas march around the stage as the kindergarten musical “The Littlest Christmas Trees” begins Dec. 17 at MacArthur Elementary School. Kindergartners dressed as toy soldiers, snowmen, reindeer, Christmas trees, Santa and Mrs. Claus and sang corresponding songs for the holiday production. Photo by Prudence Siebert/Fort Leavenworth Lamp
“Snowmen” Riley Tyner and Justin Hang end their number “Frosty the Snowman” with bows and hats waves during the kindergarten musical “The Littlest Christmas Trees” Dec. 17 at MacArthur Elementary School. Kindergartners dressed as toy soldiers, snowmen, reindeer, Christmas trees, Santa and Mrs. Claus and sang corresponding songs for the holiday production. Photo by Prudence Siebert/Fort Leavenworth Lamp
While trying to select their Christmas trees, Santa, played by Logan Morris, and Mrs. Claus, played by Presley Pevoto, listen to “trees” Paul Michaud and Lucia Fore sing “I’m Gonna Be Santa’s Tree” during the kindergarten musical “The Littlest Christmas Trees” Dec. 17 at MacArthur Elementary School. Photo by Prudence Siebert/Fort Leavenworth Lamp
Santa, played by Logan Morris, and Mrs. Claus, played by Presley Pevoto, sing “Christmas is Love” with their Christmas trees, played by Ann Watts and Abby Leydet, during the kindergarten musical “The Littlest Christmas Trees” Dec. 17 at MacArthur Elementary School. Photo by Prudence Siebert/Fort Leavenworth Lamp
“Snowflakes” Avah Camacho and Amina Assanova sing “Suzy Snowflake” during the kindergarten musical “The Littlest Christmas Trees” Dec. 17 at MacArthur Elementary School. Photo by Prudence Siebert/Fort Leavenworth Lamp

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