In one of their first lessons on the importance of stewardship and community, and the joy it brings, early childhood students lead GFS’ annual Turkey Drive by creating heart pins and giving them out in exchange for donations from students, families, faculty, and staff.
Before they start though, art teacher Lili Sharpless explains that turkeys aren’t literally driving.
“Students have a lot of questions about the Turkey Drive, including how and why turkeys are driving,” said Sharpless.
An Immersive Curricular Experience
Sharpless and other EC teachers use literary tools to help students relate to and understand helping those in need. They read The Peace Book by Todd Parr and talk about its lessons: “Peace is helping your neighbors.” And this means making sure everyone has something to eat. In reading The Big Umbrella, students learn about showing their ‘kind heart.’
Students are also practicing how to share. They aren’t keeping the heart pins they’re creating even though they want to; they are sharing them with the community so that we can help others.
As part of this project, EC teachers explore the concept of needs vs. wants with students: I want Ipad time but I need to eat.
“It’s a really good way for students this age to grasp that there are some people who don’t have enough to eat,” said Sarah McMenamin, Director of the Early Childhood division.
In PreK and Kindergarten, the focus of Stewardship is on building empathy - putting themselves in others' shoes. They also concentrate on the Germantown community. As students get older, their focus expands to the broader community.
Through the initiative, led by Director of Community Engagement Dr. Zarah Adams in partnership with the Early Childhood division, 75 turkeys and trimmings are donated to members of nearby Holsey Temple for Thanksgiving. The GFS community also makes regular monthly donations to Holsey Temple along with two other local food distribution missions throughout the year.
Show Your Kind Heart
This week, EC students and their teachers stationed themselves in Main to catch passersby, asking them to “Show Their Kind Hearts,” and make a donation to the Turkey Drive in exchange for a special hand-made heart pin.
Students learn by doing – together, said McMenamin. “In the front hall the EC students feel empowered by the project to interact and request donations. They recognize they are important in the GFS Community.”