At the end of September / the beginning of October our students were excitedly sharing how they were going apple picking and to pumpkin farms on the weekends. To respond to this excitement we put out an invitation in the block center to inspire our children to create their own pumpkin farm and apple orchard. After a day of our students exploring we then heard, “This is a store for people who don't have money.” This idea grew and grew into shelves of different items that were sorted and labeled into categories as our SK 108 food pantry came to life. We began to incorporate books that lent themselves to conversations about food scarcity, tikkun olam (repairing the world) and the needs of others. Our students stated, “Everyone needs food.” We then began to ask what else all people need. The answers included water, air, rest, money, clothes, to be clean and have shelter.
We learned more about the needs of others and how our Kindergarten Jewish value of Chaverut (friendship), lent itself so nicely into this exploration. One noticing our students had was that good friends help others. So we began collecting Tzedakah (donations) and starting a food drive. We plan to go shopping for food to donate to the food pantry with the Tzedakah we collect. We will then take a trip to The Ark to stock their shelves!
In this child-inspired unit, we were able to incorporate so many kindergarten standards in a natural way. These included sorting objects by attributes, labeling items, teamwork, problem-solving, rich literature, friendship and giving back to others. We look forward to partnering with The Ark in December to continue our learning. We are collecting food in front of 108 until December 6th. Please consider donating.