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Monday, November 23, 2015

A Mile of Meals: Woodfill Elementary's Kindergarten Service Learning Project

Woodfill Elementary kindergarteners celebrate Thanksgiving with a service learning project.

Spend any time in a young elementary classroom and you'll quickly learn that academia and life lessons are taught as one. Keeping one's hands to oneself is taught while sitting in a circle on the classroom rug. A lesson on kindness is made clear in the reading of a picture book. Feelings, both good and bad, are expressed through art. Generosity is made real through the donation of food.

The class that collected the most food items won a popcorn party and the pleasure of seeing their teacher dressed as a turkey.

Woodfill Elementary's kindergarten classes held their fourth annual food drive November 9-20. In addition to celebrating the upcoming holiday with colored turkey hats and Thanksgiving word books, kindergarteners took charge of advertising their service learning project to the entire school, asking students to donate canned fruits, vegetables and meats, as well as boxes of pasta, pasta sauce, and macaroni and cheese.

A total of 1,244 food items were collected. The kindergarten class who brought in the most food got to see their teacher dressed like a turkey November 20. Rhonda Gardner greeted her students in full turkey regalia, gobbling to her students' delight.

In addition to advertising the event, the students' lesson in charitableness was coupled with more scholarly lessons in collecting, sorting and graphing. All food was donated to The Henry Hosea House in Newport, whose mission is to "provide a safe environment in which to satisfy our clients' needs for daily nutrition, support, healthy guidance and social interaction."

A total of 1,244 food items were collected in the service learning project.

"The kids really understood the reason for our project when a representative from the Henry Hosea House came to speak to them about people in need," says Joy Layman, Woodfill Elementary kindergarten teacher.

The donated food was displayed at Woodfill Elementary November 20th, during the 4th- and 5th-grade Turkey Trot (a one-mile race).

Hunter Cole helps hold the handmade Mile of Meals sign.

Albert Camus once said, "Real generosity toward the future lies in giving all to the present." It's a sentiment that goes both ways for the Fort Thomas Independent School students. They give in a food drive. And we, as educators and parents, give in the civil life lessons we teach by helping them organize a food drive and bagging up food items to contribute to the food drive, with our children's help.

And so, at Thanksgiving, we celebrate a school district that not only excels in test scores and sports, but one that excels in teaching life lessons, too. For if you look closely, life lessons such as kindness, compassion and generosity are seamlessly interwoven into lesson plans daily. And especially when introduced early it's these lessons that stick well into adulthood.

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