For the past month our room has been a virtual Rainforest filled with the flora and fauna one might find there. The highly decorated classroom that the kinders (with teacher collaboration) have worked to create integrates art, social studies, reading, math and our purpose: outreach to global learning to raise awareness and raise money to protect an acre of the rainforest. Our classroom amazes visitors, as well as alumni who come to see us before going off to college. Somehow over the years this has become a rite of passage.
(In our school we have kinder and 6th grade graduation ceremonies. One takes place this Sunday and the kinders graduate on June 11th. Then the 6th graders go off to middle/high school combined, often coming to visit us when they have a school break.)
What always amazes me is the interest the high school graduates show in visiting us before they go off their separate ways: new roads to travel.
We catch up as they reminisce; their memories of kindergarten. Without a doubt most reflect about the rainforest (class visual certainly inspires) and the animal they created for their class rainforest. Incredible as it sounds many still have them. Stories how these “animals” have moved with them, been stored in the attic or lost over the years, brings out the camaraderie they feel towards each other and us. These young adults remember their class mascot, the read-aloud times, the math they learned during calendar time and the joys they had with their peers. They talk about their friends and classmates; the talkers, the antsy kids, and some of their own challenges. Then in a blink of an eye, we hug, wish them well and they are off. They have kept our school community with them, all these years later. So if I ever question what I do and what difference I might have on my students, these May visits always leave me with the good feelings of : A Job well done.
No doubt we all have such stories to share. Leave a comment if you’d like.