As part of our commitment to caring for the environment and considering our impact on the larger community, the Lower School enthusiastically took on the challenge of composting, with fourth graders at the helm. As Jane Verlin, Head of Lower School, put it, “Composting in the Lower School has become so much more than recycling waste. The children are actively living our mission and developing a sense of responsibility and empathy. This service learning project has provided them with an opportunity to use what they’re learning in the classroom and apply it to a real-life situation, connecting academic knowledge to practical experience. It is promoting a sense of citizenship and active participation in something larger than themselves. And it sure has been fun.”
The fun has come in many forms, starting with the Fourth Grade Compost Crew weighing and calculating lunch waste and then analyzing the data to measure and report the PreK-4 efforts. As one Compost Crew member passionately shared, “In one week before composting we sent 200 pounds of waste to the landfill. That’s a lot of trash! The next week we began composting and sent only 38 pounds of trash to the landfill. That’s a difference of 162 pounds! Think about how much soil we can make for our garden with that!”
Fourth Graders taught PreKindergarten through Third Grade how compost works, what we can and cannot compost, and the benefits of composting for our GFA community and the environment, and sure enough, everyone was eager to make a difference. Word spread to other divisions about the Lower School endeavor and before we knew it, Lower School was invited to speak to the rest of the student community. The Lower School Assembly Committee represented our Fourth Grade leaders at the Middle School and Upper School Announcements, where they reported on their efforts and motivated the rest of the school to join them in composting to create rich new soil for our GFA garden and cut down on sending waste to the landfill. Stay tuned for our local community outreach with the extra fruits and vegetables we’ll be able to plant with all this rich soil!