All week long there was a buzz about Sacred Heart Villa concerning Earth Day which took place on Thursday April 22nd. In providing an exceptional educational program rooted in strong Catholic values, the teachers know it is essential and critical to teach our young children to protect the earth. We try to help the children to appreciate the beauty of creation. Our teachers tried to bring this topic of Earth Day and caring for God's creation down to a level of understanding for these children.
Many of the teachers planned to read aloud various children's books concerning the topics of caring for the earth, recycling, and maintaining the beauty of the earth. Every class talked about the importance of not putting litter on the ground, cleaning up litter, caring for plants, enjoying the beauty of the Earth, recycling, reducing waste, and reusing items. To bring this down to the level of a two year old child, Ms. Ashley placed wadded up pieces of old paper in her room. The children heard a story about cleaning up litter. They they took that knowledge and put it to practice by picking up the "litter" found in their own classroom.
All our classes are growing plants from seeds right now. The teachers helped the children make the connection that these little plants have needed their care and will continue to need their care when they are planted in our outdoor gardens. The teachers pointed out how these plants will give us vegetables, fruits, and flowers in the months to come if we continue to show them our care.
Some classes went on a nature walk while others participated in a nature scavenger hunt. Our Kindergarten class under the guidance of Ms. Patty and Sister Bridget helped weed and deadhead a garden area by the school's grotto. They also learned about putting green waste in the green recycle bins in the alleys. Several classes helped with picking up sticks and twigs that have come down from recent storms.
The Pre-K 2 class picked up litter they found at Berra Park and along the sidewalks as they went to and from the park. Many classes did art projects on Earth Day that reflected, as Ms. Annie says, "Earth IS art and Earth As art." Some teachers used pieces of nature that the childrem found on the ground outside such as tree barks, leaves and acorns to make smiley faces or other creative art pieces. Teachers also took the time to remind the children of the importance of recycling in our classrooms and at home. Teachers and children brainstormed ideas of how they can reuse objects that would be easily thrown in the trash like empty egg cartons.
The lessons taught this past week are only a portion of what we do all year long at the Villa to acknowledge that God needs every one of us be caretakers of the world. Pope Francis focused on this is his encyclical, Laudato Si, when he wrote this prayer:
Bring healing to our lives,
that we may protect the world and not prey on it,
that we may sow beauty, not pollution and destruction.
Touch the hearts of those,
who look only for gain at the expense of the poor and the earth.
Teach us to discover the worth of each thing,
to be filled with awe and contemplation,
to recognize that we are profoundly united with every creature
as we journey towards your infinite light.