MALTA — Hugs, smiles and laughter were the order of the day at Malta Elementary School on Friday during the school's annual Grandparents' Day.
Grandparents and other special visitors crowded into the office to sign in and filled the kindergarten through fifth-grade classrooms to capacity as they watched skits, looked over school work and shared lunch with their grandchildren.
"This is the fourth year we've come. We wouldn't miss it," said Kimberly Green of Schaumburg, as she and her husband, Kurt, visited with granddaughter Jocelyn Stanton.
"The kids really look forward to this day," said third-grade teacher Kelly Peterson. About 30 were scheduled to visit her classroom. She said one of the first-grade classes had 36 signed up to visit.
Jim and Barb McManus of Westchester came to visit their grandson, Andrew Olson. Barb answered questions posed by Andrew, while Jim paired off with Zaylin Burton.
"This is my third year coming. No, wait, fourth. I came when you were in kindergarten, didn't I?" Bonnie Swanson asked as granddaughter Ella Swanson nodded.
Principal Troy Miller said the school had about 300 visitors last year, and he expected at least that many on Friday.
"It's called Grandparents' Day, but we extend the invitation to other special visitors – aunts, uncles, older siblings," Miller said. "I really like the idea of bridging the gap between the generations so the kids realize that school is valued. They take pride in showing off their work."
Miller said most of the classes had planned an activity or skit. "We try to tie this into literacy. The students get some practice for better application of their reading skills."
Although the staff originally planned the have lunch outside, wet weather kept families indoors, filling every available space in the building.
"We encourage visitors to bring lunch," Miller said, and most did.
"We welcome visitors," Miller said. "This school is a community center."