Last week we received a wonderful surprise. News arrived from the community service branch of Brady, our janitorial supply company, that the Seed had been selected as the recipient of a $2,500 Brady Shines grant to help fund our new walkway, which will enhance handicap access to our playground. It was a reminder of the importance of everyone supporting our community.
In the kindergarten class, I was involved in another kind of community. Sparked by a poem about earthworms, the class seized the topic with immense passion. After a week of study, they knew their facts and pulled them together for a mural full of worms. One of the sub-topics was the important role earthworms play in keeping soil healthy for plants. We all have our jobs on Planet Earth.
Aside from the grant and earthworms, what’s really been on my mind related to community is the students from Stoneman Douglas High School in Florida. I’m in awe of their courage to speak up and take action. I’ve been reading about them and listening to their voices. One article I read stated that they were well prepared to step up as they have. It revealed a description of the curriculum they’ve grown up with that included the arts (particularly theater), journalism, and a strong emphasis on civics. https://slate.com/news-and-politics/2018/02/the-student-activists-of-marjory-stoneman-douglas-high-demonstrate-the-power-of-a-full-education.html
When I read this, it drew me to articles about civics education, particularly for young children. Diann Cameron Kelly wrote: “Civic readiness is as important for young children as school readiness and as vital as literacy skills to advance through formal education. Civic readiness denotes a young child’s maturity to interact with and engage in society. With developing communication skills and a beginning level of awareness of community structures, civic readiness demonstrates a child’s growing social competence and literacy. This fundamental civic knowledge of society helps young children internalized the civic arena and develop moral and civic values that promote tolerance and respect of others.” https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/pdf/10.1002/ncr.234
Of course, when I run across writing like this, it circles me back to the Seed. It confirms why we place so much emphasis on social learning, planetary stewardship, and social justice. Our continual guidance of children to develop strong communication skills, and to care about the world around them, seems more important now that ever before. The understanding of civics can start with learning how earthworms do their part to keep soil healthy. Sometimes, later on, it just might erupt from that rich soil and become a movement. It’s not random that we’re called Awakening Seed.