Grade 2 Students Learning to Build Our Wall of Service

“I wanted to play the piano for a nursing home. But they never answered my call. So I went around my block giving Christmas cookies out. I did this because I wanted to spread Christmas spirit.”

KCS Student Donation to Bloorview Children's HospitalOther grade 2 students cleaned up local parks, read to kindergarten students and collected donations of various worthy items. Some did chores to donate money. Unlike the young man who didn’t hear back from the nursing home, one student was lucky enough to spend time volunteering and singing Christmas carols at a seniors’ residence. For every grade 2 student, there is a heartwarming story of service.

In late fall, the grade 2 students at KCS are officially introduced to the expectation that they, as individuals, are expected to make a difference. Though this message is shared with all students from PK, and we have many younger students earning bricks for the Wall of Service, the grade 2 unit on service is the first time they’re all expected, on their own, to think of how to make the world a bit better and then make it happen. With much gratitude from us, parents are asked to help make their child’s plan possible. Hearty discussions, problem-solving, and persisting no doubt went into much of this activity, just like it does in any important work. At the end of the effort, the students shared in a writing assignment what they did and how they felt for all their efforts. Emphatic expressions of happiness were the widespread reply. One further explained, “It made me feel good to give instead of take.”

KCS Student Spends Time at a Seniors’ ResidenceEach grade 2 student received a ‘brick’ for their act of service, and each has now been called up at assembly to share what they did, for which they received loud applause. By telling the school about their collective efforts, the whole KCS community continues to grow in its knowledge of how each one of us can follow their lead (there’s no end to the ways we can each make the world a bit better!).

Thanks to the grade 2s and others who earned bricks recently, KCS is looking forward to a dress-down day on April 17th. More importantly, thanks to the grade 2s and all others taking the initiative to make a difference, the world really is a bit better for many. Most importantly, with this unit behind them, the world now has 40 more individuals who are ready and able to keep making a difference.

According to one write-up, one woman at a park, upon seeing two students cleaning it up, said “That’s amazing. Way to go!” We agree.

Andrea Fanjoy,
Assistant Head, Academics
You can follow Andrea on Twitter @afanjoy.

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

Making a Difference, Thanks to Parents

I knew it as soon as I heard them.

Two Moms, climbing the stairs near the Multi-Purpose Room, heaved a huge sigh.  This was the week of the annual KCS Lip Sync and these intrepid volunteers had just led a dance rehearsal with their children’s class. We crossed paths in the stairwell, we chuckled over the challenge, and off they went.

KCS Lip Sync 2012This is to thank all the parents who devote their time to helping make KCS the special place that it is. We have parents who volunteered through the summer to mentor new families. We have parents who have worked endless hours in the store. We have parents who commit their days and evenings to committee and board meetings as well as in the role of class parents. We have parents who organized an outstanding Welcome Back BBQ! We have parents preparing for our upcoming Special Lunch, parents helping in the library, parents hosting grade parties and parents who have helped supervise field trips.

And those of you who attended last week’s Lip Sync for grades 1 to 4 know that we also have a very special group of parents who are willing to do what for most is unthinkable: choreographing and teaching dance to our youngest and least focused, even dancing alone as the children’s example, in front of a Canada Hall full of spectators. What a terrific show of spirit, confidence and the joy of dance to start the school year.

Thank you to all who have already made a difference at KCS and thank you in advance for making a difference in ways to come. We’ll keep teaching your children to lead and make a difference. And we’ll point to you as examples to follow.

Andrea Fanjoy,
Assistant Head, Academics
You can follow Andrea on Twitter @afanjoy.