Just because they’re little, doesn’t mean they can’t make a big environmental difference at their Shiloh Goddard School, said co-director Tiffany Foeller.
“The kids love being outside helping, and this is a perfect avenue to unleash that energy and curiosity they have,” Foeller said.
For the week leading up to Earth Day, April 22, along with over 460 other Goddard School locations nationwide, the Shiloh school kicked off the seventh annual Root for Earth initiative.
“While the children learn about eco-friendly topics throughout the year, this week especially will celebrate learning about the environment and what it means to be a good environmental steward,” Foeller said.
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During Root for Earth, preschoolers engaged in a range of activities such as gardening and composting, collecting rainwater for plants, using recycled materials to create new projects, taking nature walks and insect observations, and other Eco-friendly projects inspired by STEAM (science, technology, engineering, art and math).
“We’re looking for worms and bugs, and green bugs and ants, and I hope there’s some lady bugs in there (the garden beds),” said student Nicholas Tucker.
When asked by a teacher what plants need to grow, he responded happily with, “Seeds and water.” He even drew accolades of praise from his teachers when he said tomatoes are a fruit, which was what he was holding and readying to plant.
Foeller said the projects foster creativity and imagination while giving children the opportunity to learn about recycling, going green and preserving the world around them.
“They are our future, literally, and it just is our duty, I think, to train and teach them to go that extra step to take care of our outdoors just like they do their own spaces at home even,” Foeller said.
Last year, the school won second place in the Goddard School national Facebook contest called the “Upcycling Challenge,” which requires the most “likes” to win a big, outdoor activity resource for students to utilize.
“It’s going to be so much fun. The students are really excited and looking forward to the project,” Foeller said.
Last year’s project consisted of stacking two large tractor tires to create a composting space.
Pete Casberg, the school’s owner, even took some thick Plexiglass-like material to create a window about halfway down the stack so our students could watch the progress, Foeller said.
“It’s really a cool idea, and the kids love visiting to see what they can find through the glass,” she said.
This year’s project consists of some outdoor sheds, a gutter system and large rain barrels for watering the garden beds throughout the spring and summer.
“I enjoy doing this for the kids,” Casberg said.
The location even participated in a signature activity of Root for Earth, appropriately named “Lights Out!” Foeller noted, which took place April 21. Every Goddard School across the country shut off all non-essential lighting for an hour beginning at 10 a.m. to help save roughly 3.4 million watts of energy.