They started with an assembly in which they explored the essential question “Why should we take care of our planet?” with Farmer Dave Falkowski from Open Minded Organics and other members of the community. In the course of their discussions, they viewed videos produced by students as part of COP21, the United Nations Conference on Climate Change, and learned how children in other parts of the world are caring for their part of the planet. Ultimately, the theme of thinking globally and acting locally arose, and the group drew inspiration and empowerment from the idea that even small actions on their part, such as taking shorter showers or recycling at the local center, will have an impact on the sustainability of our community—and that other kids in other places are thinking the same way.
Thus motivated, the classes then rolled up their sleeves, both literally and metaphorically, and went to work. Every student, from the youngest in pre-nursery to the sixth graders about to move on to the Upper School, played a part in weeding, planting seeds, and tidying the garden beds around the campus. In true interdisciplinary Ross fashion, teachers augmented the work with learning, discussing plant life cycles and teaching the Mandarin vocabulary for items being planted in the edible garden. In addition, students put effort into such tasks as creating water sources for birds and other pollinators to help the school achieve its goal of being certified by the National Wildlife Federation as a Schoolyard Habitat that supports local wildlife.
At the end of the day, the students were tired, dirty, a little pink from the sun—and exhilarated, proud, and inspired by all they had accomplished. And in the coming weeks, as the seeds they planted begin to take root and thrive in the garden beds, the ideas and intentions planted through their discussions and hard work are sure to likewise take root and thrive, as each child leaves the world a little better than he or she found it.
Get a glimpse of some of our hard-working students in our Earth Day 2016 video.