MHS Kids Caring for Communities
Perhaps it was because the intersession fell during the holiday time; perhaps because it occurred just before the winter vacation; but whatever it was, the electricity in the air and the warmth in these third grade students’ hearts was palpable.
“It was a fun day because you learned how to help each other and how to care for your community,” said third grader Olivia Vadakin. “Just to help other people makes you feel so good.”
And that was the point.
“We felt this would be an engaging opportunity as well as a way to show how, especially during the holiday times, we can be good citizens in our community no matter how old we are,” said teacher Carlynn Ondercin.
As an extension activity to the local government unity with a standard on citizenship, third grade teachers at Moreland Hills Elementary School implemented this “intersession” – an opportunity for students to interact with peers in other classrooms and engage in activities “outside the box”. The theme of this intersession was “Kids Caring for Communities”.
“I liked it because it’s helping other people who need help, and I think that’s really important because if we were one of those people I would like to have somebody help me,” said student Talia Charnas.
Talia and each student were involved in one of seven activities that were set-up for the students based on their interests and ideas. Each of the activities was chosen to help a variety of individuals including children, senior citizens, soldiers, families in need, and rescued animals. Whether it was through the art activity or the personal connection, students were kept engaged.
“It was good because if you have pets like dogs or cats at home, it just feels good to be making something for them, and it just feels so good to be helping other animals,” said Aidan Stearns, who assisted in creating homemade dog biscuits for Rescue Village.
“I have two dogs and we got them from a rescue place,” said Margot Sanders who said she felt connected to the project. “The teachers are teaching us to be good citizens in our grade so we can be nice and good citizens in our community.”
In another project for Rescue Village, students created and sewed together rice packs out of socks to help animals.
“I liked to do this project because it teaches me that animals need help just like people,” said Anna Leitson.
Students learned about each of the projects in advance and studied how their individual efforts would be of assistance in each area.
“We learned about a horse that was close to death,” said Elijah Jackson. “We’re trying to help.”
“It’s about caring for your community and helping the world and the environment we live in,” added Lily Regele. “If dogs and horses and cats and bunnies die than there won’t be such a thing as that, and they would go extinct.”
Other activities included creating Inspiration Rocks for residents of Hamlet Hills Senior Residence Center; Valentine’s Day placemats for the Orange Senior Center; friendship bracelets for children at Rainbow Babies and Children’s Hospital; and writing letters to soldiers at Walter Reed Medical Center.
“The soldiers and people in the hospital get better and feel good from the cards people make for them which makes us feel good, too,” said Dylan Fertel.
“It was about helping other people who are in the hospitals and can’t be with their families for the holidays and for making soldiers feel much better and make them feel appreciated,” said Caden Vincent. “This will help them be back on their feet and help them have a happy new year.”
For all those involved, the project wasn’t only helpful but memorable…and will help them learn in a positive way to lead and to make a difference.
“We have learned to be helpful, responsible, and care for others,” noted Kate Halloran. “Being with other children and working together in a fun way like this makes me feel good.”
And the simple words on the students' Inspiration Rocks spoke volumes: kindness, happiness, believe, and be grateful, among others.
“This shows you that you don’t always just need to think about and care for yourself,” added Stearns. “It’s important to care for the people around you. This is a good way to learn that, and it’s really fun, too.”
To view the slideshow of the third grade intersession, please click on the photo below: