This is Hanney's home garden project! Hanney is in fifth grade. She is an incredibly bright scholarship student who loves folkloric dance and English class. Her family has very limited space to make their home garden but they have found new and recycled materials to plant their vegetables in and I can imagine the excitement on Hanney's face when she first tastes her home grown cucumbers! Cucumbers, peppers and tomatoes grow really easily here and our students are learning to save their seeds from the vegetables they consume.
The home garden is one of the new activites we have included into our Environmental Education Program. We've had to change our plans completely, and they continue to change as the year goes on. This hands-on learning project opens up exciting discussion about organic vs. not organic, the importance of being sustainable or buying local, and the natural science of plant growth. What I especially love about this project is that each family as made the home garden work, no matter what the size of their yard!
The other new activity will be a series of livestream story-time with environment-themed books. I will be reading our first story, "La Pelota Azul" on September 22 at 11:30 AM (Ecuador time) to celebrate World Car Free Day. The students will then be encouraged to participate in a drawing contest expressing what they learned from the story and the winner will receive a prize donated by a local family in Quito. Please join us on our Facebook Page (link below) to hear the story and see fun comments from our families!
Ecuador has been on strict lockdown since March 16, meaning that for two months now all of our students, parents, teachers, and administrators have been working from home. After a hustle to rearrange our lives, we are pumped and ready to start our new school year on June 1st. Our students are already communicating with teachers using Microsoft Teams and WhatsApp. And we are lucky to say that we have found scholarships for over 25 students! We are so grateful to have such strong support!
Obviously, all of this means that our Environmental Education Program will change a lot. In addition to their normal school work, students will have one lesson a week online in environemntal studies. To guide us through an online curriculum, we will use TedEd Earth School. Here, we find many short and interesting videos that our students can reflect upon. Although many of our planned projects and excursions would have been more fun with their classmates, students can still plant seeds at home, separate their garbage, or make compost. Things likely won't go back to how they were, so even our Environmental Education Program will adjust to the new normal.
Coming up soon will be our Virtual Bingo Game! Buy your bingo cards now! On June 6th at 1:00 PM Ecuador time we will live stream the game on the school's Facebook page. All the proceeds will go towards paying our teachers and keeping the school open through this crisis. Bingo cards are $5 for 1 or 3 for $10. You can buy your cards here on GlobalGiving or through the PayPal account on our website.
Last Saturday we took our seventh graders to visit the rural community called Rio Muchacho, just ten minutes north of Canoa. Our first stop was at the community school, where we met up with the Rio Muchacho students and planted trees around the school and the site where the church will be built this year.
After planting more than 30 trees, we continued even farther into the jungle to the Rio Muchacho Organic Farm, where we did various educational activities. First, we heard a short workshop about the effect of plastic and practiced saying "No bag please!" at the store! Then we took a short nature walk to feel the energy that trees share with us. And finally, we learned how to make chocolate from the cacao seed. Delicious!
Overall, the kids were tired after a long and stimulating day! They learned and enjoyed a day in the countryside that they will not soon forget! This is all possible thanks to your generous support!
As this was the last activity of the 2019-2020 school year, we are now working to get together the program for the 2020-2021 school year that starts in April, and we are still far away from our goal! Please share our cause with everyone who cares about this planet and wants the next generation to learn how to take care of it!
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