Red Wigglers Capture the Hearts of Senior Kindergartners

Vermi-composting in Senior KindergartenAn ongoing curiosity of our SK students within our Outdoor Classroom has been with the resident worms. With the last wave of warm weather at the end of March, we saw our excited children, once again, overturning the log stools and gathering a squirm of worms into a wheelbarrow. It is wonderful that children are free and eager to explore nature, but it is also important to teach them that we have the vital role of being great caretakers of our earth. Short-term-only captivity and catch-and-release rules are important responsibilities even for our youngest caretakers.

Here at KCS, we encourage student-led inquiry, giving students the opportunity to decide what they want to learn based on their interests. Children in the Early Learning Program cannot always verbalize what they want to learn.  As their teachers, we are trained to recognize where their interests lie and to weave these interests into other parts of their curriculum. Can you imagine measuring worms? That’s what we did! Can you imagine having an indoor vermi-composter? That’s what we did! We drew and created worms, and we wrote in our journals about worms. We now know that a worm has no eyes, no teeth, and five hearts. We know that they don’t like light, that they can feel your presence through vibrations of motion and sound, and we know how to be great caretakers by providing their optimal environment and nutrition.

Cathy Nesbitt, from Cathy’s Crawly Composters, presented a workshop for our inquisitive SK students and helped them to set up their own indoor vermi-composter. The students listened attentively as Cathy’s enthusiasm, worm puppet, and actual red wigglers kept them engaged. There were worms to hold and love, jobs given out to prepare the bedding, and many curious questions to be asked and answered. What an exciting session!

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We have successfully given our squirm its first organic meal with leftover snack items. We are taking respectful peeks to monitor the progress in the composter bin, and we are patiently waiting for our first harvest of castings, aka “worm poo”. This harvesting will take place in the Outdoor Classroom before school closes for the summer and will require us to separate the wigglers from the castings. The nutrient-rich castings can be added to the outdoor plants and serve as a time-release fertilizer. It will be interesting to see how many little caretakers will volunteer to harvest. Stay tuned for the next blog!

This is a timely SK project and one that we are eager to share with our KCS friends. Happy Earth Day!

Sharon Freeman RECE
SK Teacher KCS

Hope for Habits for Today and for the Future

Love the EarthThis past week was National Volunteer Week and Earth Week. The thing about celebrating weeks like this is that we hope that we raise awareness of important ideas. What we really hope will happen is that those ideas spread!

We have Earth Week activities at KCS:

  • Meatless Monday
  • Trashless Tuesday
  • Walk to School Wednesday
  • Turn off the Lights Thursday
  • Fill your Water Bottle Friday
  • Grade 7 service learning students reminded classes about energy conservation, water conservation, recycling, rain forest preservation, and more.
  • Grade 1 students participated in workshops presented by older students about water conservation and recycling.
  • Grade 2 students read books, wrote poems, and made posters about helping the planet.
  • Grade 3 students planted seeds and prepared soil experiments.
  • Grade 4 and 6 students cleaned up the school grounds and surrounding areas.
  • Grade 5 students will be calculating their eco-footprint using a carbon footprint calculator online.
  • Grade 7 students did a creative assignment about sustainable happiness. Sustainable happiness is ‘happiness that contributes to individual, community and/or global wellbeing and does not exploit other people, the environment, or future generations.’ (C. O’Brien)
  • Grade 8 students viewed Sharkwater, a film about sharks, their habitat, and the effects of humans on their ecosystem.

What we hope will happen is that our community learns about being friendly to the environment. We hope that they incorporate green habits that they will have for their whole lives, not just during Earth Week. We show this by having green habits integrated into our daily lives at KCS.

Similarly, we love and appreciate our volunteers at KCS! We don’t wait until volunteer week to thank them! Increasingly, our students are volunteering in our school and in the surrounding community. Once one person tells others how they volunteered to help, many of their peers are willing to join in the joy that comes from helping others. We are grateful to them and proud that they are making a difference.

Here are some of the many ways that students are volunteering:

  • Mentoring younger students
  • Providing lunch leadership to younger students
  • Leading chapels and assemblies
  • Conducting tours of our school to guests
  • Making gift baskets for local women’s shelters
  • Helping at a local church fundraiser
  • Refereeing basketball games for Special Olympics Ontario
  • Teaching younger students at figure skating
  • Caring for neighbours when they are sick
  • Sorting food at a food bank
  • Helping seniors at a retirement home

We hope that students see volunteering as one of the habits that they continue to do well after they have left KCS. We don’t have green habits only during Earth Week. And we don’t just volunteer or thank our volunteers during National Volunteer Week. But here’s to the happy future that comes from the habits learned at KCS!

Ms. Gaudet
Citizenship Coordinator