By Raiza Giorgi

The kindergarten teachers at Solvang Elementary School decided to host a fun pumpkin patch for their students to celebrate Halloween, as the typical class parties and the school’s annual parade in Solvang were canceled. 

“These kids have been so great this year, adapting to distance learning and whatnot; we wanted to give them a little fun before school started in person,” said teacher Carrie Padfield. 

Breven Betz, 5, chooses his pumpkin at Solvang School’s pumpkin patch.
Photo by Raiza GiorgiHallow

The teachers gathered pumpkins and placed them on the grass field behind their classrooms and each student got to come during a designated time to pick a pumpkin and take a goodie bag home with them. 

“We are so excited to come back to class and see our teachers and friends,” said Natalie Groves, parent of Navine, who was excited about decorating her pumpkin. 

Breven Betz ran around the field looking at all the pumpkins before making his selection. 

“I work at home and so having the kids back at school will be great to get work done, but I am nervous about how this will go,” said Melanie Kile, Breven’s mom. 

Solvang started their hybrid model the following Monday with TK through first grade coming back on campus alternating days, and this week started second-third and eighth grades, and next week will have grades fourth through seventh. 

The classes are split into three cohorts with the green and blue groups alternating days, and the purple cohort only distance learning. All students will have to wear masks, even though Santa Barbara Public Health mandated masks for third grade and above, and face shields for kids in second and under. 

“It’s hard having five- and six-year-olds on the iPad all day and trying to teach a meaningful curriculum,” Padfield said. “I am so excited about having the kids back in class. School should be fun at this age, and this is when we instill a love of learning. I have been waiting months to see my kids.”