IGNITE Summer 2019 | Page 15

WHAT THEY LEARNED: A STUDENT SPOTLIGHT “I learned that even if you make mistakes, you should keep trying because maybe something else will work.” JACKIE, 3RD GRADE “My favorite part was brainstorming ways to help the people of Nicaragua, because I like helping people.” ADDISON, 5TH GRADE EMPATHY IN THE EVERYDAY “I liked the stroopwafels. They had caramel Early on in the planning process, teachers wanted to on them, and they were really yummy.” ensure the initiative didn’t overlook younger students. WALTER, KINDERGARTEN With specific countries or Sustainable Development Goals assigned to each class, children could explore new cultures while empathizing with students around the globe. were problem-solving throughout the whole initiative ourselves,” Bull admits. “It connected us as a faculty, from “We wanted to develop students’ critical minds as well as sharing supplies to matching one grade’s goals to another compassionate hearts,” says Sheila Gavin, a first-grade classroom’s lesson plans. There was a lot of trust in teacher who taught her students about Chinese culture. the process.” “The goal is for our students to be leaders who care about the people — and the world — around them.” The teachers plan to continue the program next year, swapping out countries and assignments while For instance, Gavin’s class learned to count in Mandarin maintaining the focus on kindness and persistence. and performed a Chinese dragon dance. Kindergarteners Because if there’s one thing that engineering and empathy walked with their backpacks to simulate a Dutch school have in common, it’s that the opportunity to improve commute, and second graders prayed for the Catholic never ends. Church in Mexico. Older grades found a way to help, too — by serving as engineering mentors for their younger peers. That’s a lesson noted by Walter, a kindergartener who learned about the Netherlands. “When people have TEACHERS NEED PRACTICE, TOO empathy, they continue to do it over and over again,” he While their students learned to collaborate, teachers says. “If you are nice to others, then they will be nice to stayed in touch through monthly faculty meetings. “We others, and it will keep going and going.” 15