VERNON — Proving just how big little hearts can be, the preschoolers at Walnut Ridge Primary School participated in Scholastic’s 9th Annual Great Bedtime Story Pajama Drive last month to benefit children in need. Together, the three- and four-year-olds collected more than 50 pairs of pajamas for underprivileged youth through The Pajama Program, a national non-profit organization. Scholastic Book Clubs then matched every PJ donation with a brand-new book, doubling the value of the students’ philanthropic efforts. The pint-sized donors’ contributions helped the Scholastic Pajama Drive far surpass its overall goal of 100,000 pajamas and books donated — and, most importantly, provided other youngsters across the country with a cozy night’s sleep and a bedtime story. In recognition of the preschoolers’ kind-hearted generosity, Walnut Ridge Primary School Principal Joseph Piccirillo stated, “Our students were able to celebrate their accomplishment by hosting an in-house Pajama Day.” The young donors, clad in their own pajamas and snacking on mini bags of popcorn, enjoyed a movie together in the school’s all-purpose room.Culminating lessons of character building and self-awareness learned within the classroom, the Walnut Ridge Pajama Drive presented an opportunity for students to demonstrate positive behaviors and altruistic actions in a real-world context. Piccirillo commented, “The students were excited to get into the spirit of giving.” He added, “For the last several weeks, Walnut Ridge has focused on a theme of respect, particularly inspired by Dr. Seuss’ quote: ‘A person’s a person, no matter how small!’ from Horton Hears a Who.” Vernon’s preschool program plans to continue incorporating school-wide themes into its calendar of events throughout the year, as a means of cohesively blending curriculum into fun, age-appropriate activities.