It started with a question about umbrellas.
And before she knew it, Sally Hallam’s kindergarten class at Willows Elementary was fundraising to plant trees.
They had been learning about how different people and things show kindness in different ways. Earlier in the year, they had adopted trees along nearby Bowker Creek.
“One of the stories was about an umbrella showing kindness, and we had just come back from Bowker Creek to visit our trees,” Hallam said. “I was already planning on creating an advent calendar of kindness, but connecting these ideas about how the trees can show a similar kindness — that came out of the questions from a child. ‘If an umbrella is kind, is a tree kind too?’”
Fast forward to today and her class is making Pleistocene artwork — a more permanent Play-Doh-like substance, which they mold on paper. All their work shares a common theme: connections in kindness. “We’re looking at how trees show similar kindness as humans, and how we are connected with the trees in that way. So we were connected in kindness with the trees.”
Hallam will photograph all the artwork as it’s completed, then have those made into a calendar. Every month will have a slight variation of the broader theme, inspired by lessons. Every day in December, Hallam’s class stops by their advent calendar of kindness — a tool she has used since her practicums. Instead of chocolate, the kids find different examples of kindness that they came up themselves earlier. They then take those ideas, combine them with what they’re learning about trees, and voila – artistic inspiration.
“As part of our exploration of kindness we talked about how we have to be kind to ourselves before we can be kind to others. We learned about how the tree takes water with its roots from the soil, and how it actually stores water for times when there’s drought. We were talking about how the trees can actually help to prevent flooding by absorbing the water during massive rainfalls,” Hallam said.
The calendars are for sale to the general public and cost $15 each. All proceeds from the sale will go directly towards buying trees for the Friends of Uplands Park. And since they are a French immersion class, the calendars will be bilingual. Each month will have a simple message in French chosen by the students and a slightly longer description in English.
“I just love the enthusiasm and how passionate these kids are becoming about our natural world,” Hallam said. “Their passion, their excitement is a big driving force for me.”
Calendars can be ordered online atwillows.sd61.bc.ca/news-events/connections-in-kindness-calendar-fund-raiser until Jan. 4, 2019.