Local News

Earth Day at school starts with everyday things

— What are 100 ways we can save the Earth?

Ask Jessica Hicks’ class and they’ll tell you.

Hicks’ second-grade Lake Placid Montessori Academy class made a “recycled” tree using cutouts from paper grocery bags as leaves and wrote their 100 suggestions on them.

One was as simple as writing on both sides of paper.

Pollution and saving the environment can be big concepts, she explained, but kids can better understand them when they see what they can lead to.

Tuesday, the school’s 150 students, along with Voluntary Pre K students from two Lake Placid day cares, spent Earth Day not just doing a lot of planting but hands-on crafts using recycled materials.

It gave the kids a chance to get their hands in the dirt and play outside, Hicks said. She’s the daughter of a farmer so she did a lot of that growing up, but kids these days don’t get out that much, she said.

It also got children involved in hands-on and independent learning, which is the basis of Montessori education, said the school’s director Jennifer Payne.

The Montessori school has its own vegetable garden and the students do a lot of gardening year-round, even winning ribbons for their 4-H displays at the Highlands County Fair.

Several crafts tables were set up and kids got their pick. Others were planting caladium bulbs and strawberries, donated by local businesses.

First-grader Harmony Dickerson intently lathered peanut butter on a pine cone and dipped it into a big can of bird seed for her very own bird-feeder.

Kids had the choice to hang the tasty pine cones for the Montessori school’s birds to peck on or take them home in a Zip-lock bag. Harmony’s bird-feeder was going home with her.

Other kids played with their home-made boats, crafted from two water bottles duct-taped together, which floated pretty well in a kiddie pool.

Others made little Geopet-like king and queen figurines from recycled Easter eggs that had some mud and grass seed inside.

Second-grader Carlie Stockenberg wrapped her purple plastic Easter egg with a dressy paper skirt and perched a tiara on top. Christopher Day, first grader, went with a suit, a crown and eyes.

The school’s Earth Day-related activities did not end Tuesday.

Juli Coker’s class plans to walk down Main Avenue and pick up litter, get to know the merchants and the town better, she said.

This week, they weeded around the day care and started Earth Day by making sure all the garbage bags were picked up.

“The kids are learning about how we can recycle and use things again. We need to be Earth-friendly, Coker said.