A classroom full of prekindergartners falls silent for an important announcement.
“Let’s not cut our fingers off!” a teacher says. “No fingers in the soup! That is the goal for today!”
While that is certainly a goal for the Lower School’s Drop Everything and Serve day, it’s not the only goal. The Lower School students spent the morning of Sept. 20 planting flower seeds in egg cartons for a local seniors’ home, making placemats for the Martha’s Table Harvest Dinner, as well as making and packing sandwiches and kicking off their weekly vegetable-cutting activity, both of which also benefit Martha’s Table.
“We will give these sandwiches to hungry people, and then they will feel good,” one 1st-grader says. “Because they don’t have enough food, and now they will have something to eat.”
"It's important that children understand that being a member of a community means that they also have a responsibility to support those who may be in need whenever they can," says Lower School principal Adele Paynter. "We start by talking about how we do that within our school community, and expand out to include our neighborhood, our city, and our larger world. Young children are naturally curious, empathetic, and justice-minded, and our program taps into and grows these gifts."
One prekindergartner scoffed at the suggestion that she might be nervous to use the (modified) knife to cut the broccoli in front of her. “I use a knife all the time,” she insists to a skeptical visitor.
Even if she doesn’t actually use a knife “all the time,” for the rest of the school year she’ll get plenty of experience behind the cutting board, as she and her fellow Lower School students continue in their service to others.