Lake Canyon Elementary School transformed into Disneyland on Oct. 21 and 22, hoping to spark students’ excitement for learning.

Principal Judi Hayes said the activities, part of the national Rock Your School initiative, get students more interested in their education.

“When they (students) are engaged and they’re having fun with their learning and they look forward to coming to school — then we find that they do better,” Hayes told the Herald. “They want to be here, and we’re able to then layer in more academic rigor.”

To turn Lake Canyon into the Happiest Place on Earth, each of the school buildings was themed after one of the theme park’s lands, such as Tomorrowland and Fantasyland. On Oct. 21, teachers put up decorations and dressed up as famous Disney characters. The music that plays as students arrive at school was switched to Disney tunes.

For the educational element, stations were set up for classes to visit and solve grade-appropriate puzzles. For example, a math challenge might involve using Common Core principles to answer multiplication problems.

Students “were fully engaged throughout the whole day. Once one challenge ended, they couldn’t wait to find out the next challenge,” third-grade teacher Marlene Pacheco said.

Pacheco and fellow teacher Heather Swain dressed as Lost Boys from “Peter Pan,” and they noted that the fun activities allowed them to review with students the topics that they have taught this year.

As a reward for finishing the challenges, each student got a “FastPass” for the next day, when they were treated to churros, as well as a tour of The Haunted Mansion (the school library, unrecognizable after parent volunteers gave it a spooky makeover).

This is the third year the school has joined in on Rock Your School, each time with a different theme chosen by teachers. The 2019 edition was pirate-themed, and the school found buried treasure at the kindergarten playground.

“The excitement in the kids” is what makes all the effort of costumes and decorations worthwhile each year,” fifth-grade teacher Tammy Trinnaman said. “They’re engaged in learning. (It) just makes a fun day.”