Recently I blogged about the service our elementary students provided to the larger community by raising money for five local non-profits. They raised the money by planning, cooking, and serving over fifty lunches for donations. The food was excellent, but what was even better was their sense of pride and teamwork.
Now I am so happy that our elementary students are providing community service to our school. They are serving as reading buddies/mentors to our younger students in the 3 – 6 classrooms. We have so many children in our 3 – 6 year old rooms eager to practice reading, and it is difficult for the teachers to find time to listen to them all on a daily basis, which is how often the children want to read! Having our first and second graders help out by listening to the younger children is a win-win situation. The younger children love reading to their big buddies, and the older children get the satisfaction and improved self esteem that comes from mentoring their younger friends.
As our elementary school grows, I am excited to see the development of opportunities for children from various age levels working together. Soon our elementary students will help out with our Moms’ Day teas, for example, by helping to serve tea. Our elementary students also meet once a week with our two year olds for a fun play time.
One of my favorite memories of teaching 6 – 9 year olds was when my elementary students built a museum of Native American Life from long ago, and filled it with amazing models and posters. They made themselves ‘docent’ badges, and arranged with the 3 – 6 year olds’ teachers for the younger children to visit the museum. The younger children enjoyed seeing all of the models and listening to the big kids tell them stories of how life was long ago. The older children got so much out of the experience, too, and as I listened to my big kids give tours of the museum to the younger kids, I found out how much each elementary child had learned during our study of life long ago in North America.
I am so proud of our elementary students ~ they are growing into such wonderfully engaged community members!