GALVESTON — The weather was only a little misty at about 6 p.m. Sunday. The temperatures were bearable, particularly under a bit of cover.
For the five parents sitting in lawn chairs near the door of the Moody Methodist Day School, the comfort would not last long.
Jonathan Zendeh Del arrived at 2:15 p.m., which was good enough to get the second place in line; Brianna Gibbons showed up at 4 p.m. to claim the spot behind him.
“It’s worth it,” Gibbons said. “I have a lot of family friends that had their children here. I went to Moody when I was younger. It’s one of the best places on the island to send your children to.”
The group was among the first to show up at the school Sunday, intent to camp out until it opened at 7:30 a.m. when they could enroll their children for a spot in the programs at the day school. A sign on the door said the preschool had four spots open for infants, sevens for toddlers, nine for 2-year-olds, eight for 8-year-olds and 13 for 4-year-olds.
The parent campout has been a sort of unofficial tradition for years, school employees said.
“It’s been going on for at least 10 years,” said Suzanne Tichelaar, who has worked at the school as a teacher and administrator for 30 years. “We’ve had years when they’ve been down the walkway and winding around the building.”
The day school, which has operated a preschool program since 1969, enrolls about 250 children in its pre-K program. Spots are open to all children who are at least 3 months old by September. Tichelaar said all but a handful of the day care spots had been filled by 3 p.m. Monday.
This year’s parents came armed with lawn chairs, blankets, tents, books, laptops, even a Monopoly board game. The tents in particular would come in handy later in the evening, when a cold front hit the island and dropped temperatures to near-freezing.
Despite their imminent suffering, members of the group said they were sure that admittance would be worth it.
“My wife wants our daughter to go here,” Zendah Del said. “I think it’s a good program, so we’re here. What’s important for us is that we know it’s a safe spot.”