Being an intern for Gateway Greening and working with Punita each week at Mallinckrodt is constantly a rewarding and eye-opening experience. Each week I learn something new and the children are absolutely wonderful. They are always so eager to learn and share their ideas and knowledge; it is amazing to watch. This week focused a bit more on indoor activities due to the chilly weather. Punita spent time in each of the classes reading various intriguing yet educational books to the children. She always makes sure to pause throughout and ask questions to keep the children involved and to get there critical thinking skills going. The children really got into the books, especially the one related to dirt. It taught the students about different types of dirt and soils and all of the various components that it is made up of as well as how it is essential to our everyday lives and foods that we eat. In order to further educate the children and drive deeper the lessons she was teaching, she brought examples of different soils for the children to look at and feel.
Some of the students were lucky enough to get to experience their art class outside where they focused on creating mosaics. They used various artifacts of nature, such as small trunks or square pieces of wood, to use as a base for their creations. On their canvases, the children were able to choose from a variety of small colored glass marbles, squares, and various shapes to glue onto them. Despite the cold, the children were completely engrossed in their projects and were so proud of what they created. They all had huge smiles on their faces and really showed great teamwork and compassion by working together with one another and sharing materials to help their friends and neighbors to finish their art in time.
To finish off this fun and education-filled day, a fellow student’s mom came to teach a class about seeds. She provided the students with “mystery seeds” and they were able to guess where the seeds came from. Following this, they learned all about the components of seeds, where they come from, and how they grow. They were even able to create their own seed packets, the seeds provided by Punita, to be able to sell at the schools Farmer’s Market. The room sounded of laughter and enjoyment, and the students really got into the lesson. They were able to do hands-on learning and they were so engrossed in the subject they were learning about. I love being able to come to Mallinckrodt every Wednesday to see all of the progress that Gateway Greening is making with the children.
-Kaitlin Cilufo, Dietetic Intern