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All Saints By-the-Sea Parish School Goes Bollywood for Spring Gala

Colorful evening of dinner and dancing benefits the Montecito Episcopal church school's early childhood education

The Rev. Aimée Eyer-Delevett, right, rector of All Saints By-the-Sea Episcopal Church, and Padric Davis, director of All Saints By-the-Sea Parish School, welcomed guests to the school’s Bollywood-themed annual spring gala at the Coral Casino Beach & Cabana Club.
The Rev. Aimée Eyer-Delevett, right, rector of All Saints By-the-Sea Episcopal Church, and Padric Davis, director of All Saints By-the-Sea Parish School, welcomed guests to the school’s Bollywood-themed annual spring gala at the Coral Casino Beach & Cabana Club. (Melissa Walker / Noozhawk photo)

[Click here for a related Noozhawk photo gallery.]

Bright colors, festive garb and the sounds of India filled the air as All Saints By-the-Sea Parish School celebrated its spring gala, held at the Coral Casino Beach & Cabana Club with a Bollywood theme.

Bollywood films are predominantly musicals that typically include a song-and-dance sequence of large numbers in coordinated routines. They’re usually framed within a story of love, comedy and action.

The nonprofit fundraiser brought a bevy of guests adorned in gold and silk with the colors of the rainbow for a dinner and dancing that went late into the night. The gala benefited the early childhood education offered at the nursery school, which is located at 84 Eucalyptus Lane in Montecito, on the campus of All Saints By-the-Sea Episcopal Church.

“The Parish School serves children 2 to 5, and they have a preschool where kids have an opportunity to practice their socialization and learn their lessons that they need to learn prior to kindergarten, in a kind, loving, Christian environment,” said the Rev. Aimée Eyer-Delevett, All Saints’ rector.

Teachers at the school utilize various techniques to capture the attention and expand the horizon of up to 77 students per day with tactile, auditory, kinesthetic and visual methods for ages 2 to kindergarten. In April, the school will mark its 50th anniversary.

“They say that people’s images and ideas of God are formed by the time they’re 5, so by the time we’re 5 we’ve either been exposed to the reality of God or we have not,” said Eyer-Delevett, whose daughter attends the school.

“And, of course, if we haven’t there’s still always a possibility that God will make himself known to us.”

Weekly chapel service by All Saints’ clergy is only one part of a process that includes arts and crafts, music, climbing, manipulative toys and special guests, like firefighters, singers and dancers.

Guests on this boisterous evening at the Coral Casino were also treated to a special performance in the Bollywood style by a group from UC Santa Barbara. The performers delighted and inspired the crowd to create their own variation of the dances late into the night.

Parish School director Padric Davis, who has been involved with early childhood education since 1964 and has worked at All Saints since 1989, spoke about the focus of the evening to help create diversity at the school.

“We have $20,000 this year in scholarships that we’re giving to children,” she said. “We provide an education in a wonderful early childhood setting, to children who couldn’t normally afford it. It gives diversity to our school, and I really want to do that.”

The Parish School curriculum runs from Bumble Bees with activities in cooperation, listening and creativity for ages 2 to 2½; Bunnies for ages 2½ to 3 for children provided with imitation, repetition and exploration exercises; and Butterflies, which offers young kids a safe and secure forum to learn to play and communicate cooperatively.

Problem solving and the foundations of learning are also introduced via the alphabet, math and science to Butterfly students.

Children ages 3 to 4 participate in the Beavers, which are focused on the emotional and social aspects of problem solving with hands-on learning. And, finally, the Bears class offers a smooth transition to kindergarten. Students in this class sit attentively and participate in storytelling, science experiments and more.

Emcee Andrew Firestone hosted a live auction that followed a touching and memorable video presentation on the Parish School.

All Saints By-the-Sea Episcopal Church is a parish of the Episcopal Diocese of Los Angeles of the national Episcopal Church, which is part of the worldwide Anglican Communion. Episcopalians are followers of Jesus Christ with a belief in the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. These religious beliefs stress the respect and dignity of every person — a foundation that begins at the Parish School.

“This will go for scholarships, it will go for the music teacher, it goes for the enrichment,” Davis said of the evening’s proceeds.

Eyer-Delevett, who previously served as rector of the Church of the Holy Nativity in suburban Chicago, was called to the Montecito parish last September. She spoke to the importance of the evening and the efforts of the school and parish.

“I think that for children to know — for all of us to know — that there’s something beyond ourselves, some power beyond ourselves that’s guiding our lives, that’s helping us work toward redemption for ourselves and the world around us,” she said. “That’s giving us guidance about how we live our lives, the choices that we make and that we don’t just live for ourselves — that we live for one another as well to care for one another and community.”

All Saints-by-the-Sea Parish School is accredited by the Episcopal Diocese of Los Angeles and is a member of the National Association for the Education of Young Children, the California Association for the Education of Young Children and the National Association of Episcopal Schools.

Click here for more information about All Saints By-the-Sea Parish School, or call 805.969.4946.

Click here for more information about All Saints By-the-Sea Episcopal Church, or call 805.969.4771. Click here to make an online donation.

Noozhawk iSociety columnist Melissa Walker can be reached at [email protected]. Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkSociety, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Become a fan of Noozhawk on Facebook.

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