A local preschool class at The Compass School Naperville South is raising awareness about the many species of endangered sea turtles. As part of their classroom curriculum, and the school's philosophy, all lessons are child directed.
The children select the topics and projects rather than the teacher choosing for them. At Compass, the preschoolers wanted to learn about sea animals, specifically sea turtles, in September. The topic was selected based on a classroom vote where each child got a say, and then the votes were tallied to select the winner.
The preschoolers decided that learning about turtles wasn't enough. As they researched and explored the topic, the realized how dangerous garbage and debris in the water was to the turtles and asked what they could do to help. With the assistance and guidance of the classroom teachers, the children started a Coastal Clean-Up project and asked for help from families and staff at the school to donate recyclable items, which were then turned into a sculpture of a sea turtle.
The buzz surrounding the project spread quickly throughout the school. The children still felt they could do more so they began a Spare Change Drive or the Save the Sea Turtles Foundation and raised nearly $80 in change over a week and a half to adopt a sea turtle nest, and donate to the ocean conservation efforts.
The class is also promoting awareness about International Coastal Clean-Up Day (ICCD), which was this past Saturday, Sept. 21, on beaches across the globe. The volunteer efforts will be circulating on more than a dozen beaches around Lake Michigan and roughly 273 beaches around the Great Lakes.
The children requested the help of Compass School staff and families to participate by attending ICCD or by continuing to recycle and donate to the Compass Recycle Center, which the children use to create classroom art projects re-purposing anything from chicken wire, to toilet paper tubes, to plastic bottles and old flower pots.
The classroom teachers are thrilled about the drive and determination this project has stirred up. Both firm believers in the old adage "If you don't stand for something, you'll fall for anything," they feel strongly that teaching children to be advocates for the things they are passionate about is an invaluable life lesson that, if learned early, can dramatically influence that child's life and support them in being a life-long learner.
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