The Bancroft Elementary School in Andover is fairly new, and my impression on arrival to their beautiful and airy foyer was that this was not what elementary schools looked like when I was a child. The school has made physical the ideas around education that are building strength throughout the country: adaptive learning, cooperative working methods and multidisciplinary problem solving. These things are not only important for our youth to learn for their own futures, but for the future of our society, and they will be key in addressing the issues of climate change.
In one of the school’s Maker Studios Greenscapes North Shore Coordinator Lori Watson and I set up the stations for the Greenscapes Keeping Water Clean in-classroom program. Our parent volunteers arrived and we explained the stations to them. These interactions, with the parents, are one of my favorite aspects of KWC. The program allows parents and children to dive into the issue of water together. Not only are we creating an experience they and their children can share and discuss, but often the parents are learning just as much about their town’s water as the kids.
Together, we and the parent volunteers showed the students where their drinking water comes from, where their waste water goes and how it’s treated, and how all their water is connected through groundwater. Given the learning style upheld by the school, it was unsurprising that the kids were excited for hands-on learning. I hope they will continue learning about watersheds and water outside of the program. One volunteer was fascinated with the concept of rain gardens. Lori and I took some time to go into further detail about them before the kids arrived. I hope she and her child get to build a rain garden together. It will be a fun experience for them and might inspire others to do the same.