Pictured: Martin Avenue Elementary School kindergartners organized a Thanksgiving food drive to help local families for a service learning project.
Photo courtesy of the North Bellmore School District
Service learning is an important part of the curriculum for kindergartners at Martin Avenue Elementary School in the North Bellmore School District. At a young age, they completed a successful Thanksgiving food drive that could help dozens of local families.
The weeklong food drive culminated on Nov. 17 when students sorted items and packed boxes. The nonperishable goods were donated by Martin Avenue students and staff. Several of the boxes will be given to specific families in the community, while the rest of the food will go to the Bellmore-Merrick Central High School District’s Community Cupboard.
Kindergarten teachers Melissa DeBlasio and Jennie Kuhn noted that this project ties into the district’s mission statement in “contributing to our global community with creativity and compassion.” It also supports the kindergarten social studies curriculum, which focuses on communities.
“Our goal of this service-learning project for our kindergarten students is to shift from an inward focus on themselves to an outward focus on others while contributing to our school and eventually our global community,” said Ms. DeBlasio, who spearheaded the project. “Through this process, our students develop a stronger sense of compassion, empathy and personal responsibility.”
Last year’s kindergarten service project was a collection drive for a local animal shelter. Ms. DeBlasio explained that service learning opportunities help students develop critical thinking skills, create positive relationships, increase awareness of community issues and develop a deeper understanding of empathy and respect for others.