This story is now appearing in the April edition of the Byron Villager. I've added a few more artworks to this post than appear in the magazine just because I can.....
Art For Earth - Save Our Seas
It’s always every parent’s dream to find that their child’s teacher is a positive and inspirational influence – going above and beyond the standard learning curriculum. So, I guess that my dream has come true as my son’s teacher, Michelle Hill, who teaches Junior and Senior Kindergarten at Byron Northview Elementary School, continuously fills Devon and the rest of his friends and classmates with wonderful ideas and investigative activities that are shaping their young and open minds.
Michelle engages the students in many fun and thought provoking ways as she fulfils her assigned agendas, but it is all of the extra curricular activities that I find to be truly inspiring. Last fall, Devon counted down the sleeps until his class went on a field trip to nearby Warbler Woods, where the class was asked to identify plants, animals and their tracks. He came home from this adventure full of so many details about what kind of animal builds what kind of home and the reasons why. During our own nature trails walks, Devon will recount the many interesting facts that he has learned.
Last autumn, Michelle Hill and her teaching partner Katelyn Good received permission to plant a butterfly garden right on school property. Lessons were taught about why pollinating insects are important and what kind of flowers they need in order to live happy lives. Gardens were dug, flowers were planted and the students took turns as caretakers, making sure that the flowers were watered properly.
Just recently, I learned that Michelle has been – once again – engaging the students to understand the importance of Nature and our relationship with it. With Earthday approaching, Michelle thought that it would be a fantastic idea to have her students create artworks that show how much they love the Earth and all the things on it. For the last several weeks, the students have been learning about oceans, fish and turtles and the struggles that these creatures are facing due to pollution. This art project engaged the students to create two different underwater environments. One side of the art shows dirty and polluted water, filled with cut-out magazine items like tires, light bulbs, pop cans and other man-made products. The other side shows – using bright, clean colours - what a healthy underwater environment needs to look like: with fish, turtles, crabs, seaweed and other sea creatures.
Michelle explained to me that when the students create their own art about any subject, they become more familiar with that subject and this helps the students to remember all that they learned.
So, let’s enjoy these colourful art creations and be inspired to realize that it is not only the responsibility of our teachers to get our children involved in understanding our relationship with Nature… it’s our job, too!