Staff Photo: John Bohn Tatum Cross, 4, a pre-K student at Daniel Elementary School in Dacula, plays with artificial snow held by her teacher Lindsay Arnold on Monday morning. Artificial snow was made to assist students who are studying the seasons.
DACULA -- On Tuesday, Greg Geaman brought real snow to Fort Daniel Elementary School after realizing how much experiencing real winter weather can teach a child about the climate.
Geaman began his hobby a year ago after experimenting with a homemade snow machine and seeing how much his son enjoyed it.
"I looked online and Snow at Home had free diagrams on how to build your own snow machine so we tried to build a prototype last year," Geaman said, "and this year I was just like, I'm going to buy one."
Unfortunately, last year he was unable to bring winter to his son's class because the weather did not get cold enough. But Geaman was more than willing to offer up his snow machine to this year's group of preschoolers to teach them the joys of winter.
However, it quickly became clear that Georgia children are not prepared for winter weather when beach shovels and buckets are brought out to play in the snow.
Geaman said his machine is able to make real snow with only a water hose, compressed air, and cold. "It's real snow, it's just water and air," he said. "The company is Snow at Home and they have the nozzle that actually disperses the water fine enough so that compressed air can make it cold enough quick enough so it can snow rather than ice."
With his new snow machine Geaman was ready to make it snow at Fort Daniel as soon as the temperature dropped below freezing.
Fort Daniel Principal Paul Willis said, "(Geaman) was in contact with the teachers and they called me Friday afternoon and said it was offered so we decided to take advantage of it."
Willis and Geaman arrived at the Dacula school at 3 a.m. on Tuesday to prepare the snowstorm. By the time students were allowed to play outside there was more than half an inch on the ground.
The snow was made specifically for the special-needs pre-K classes. The purpose was not only to allow the kids to have fun, but to learn about weather and the seasons while they do.
"This is a pre-K for special-needs students," Willis said. "So you have very different cognitive abilities so really experiencing things and experiencing the cold, it really helps them learn."
The students in the three pre-K classes range in age from 3 to 5 years old and many of them have never experienced a real winter before.
"I think they've absolutely loved it," pre-K teacher Lindsay Arnold said. "We've been talking about snow a lot with our new unit and we haven't been able to show them cold and what snow is; so this has been a great learning experience for them."
While it might not have been in the forecast Tuesday, students at Fort Daniel experienced a winter wonderland at their school.
According to Arnold, "If Mr. Geaman will be generous enough to offer up his time again it would be wonderful to do again because it's great for them to experience this kind of weather."