Heather Bailey is a first grade teacher at Maplewood Richmond Heights Early Childhood Center in Maplewood, Missouri. After reading a story about extinction, her young learners were inspired to get creative and take action for endangered species.
In my class I teach about art and the various ways it can be used to communicate and solve problems as part of a social constructivist approach I use to deliver curriculum. So when my students read Chelsea Clinton's book Don't Let Them Disappear and were filled with angst about the problems facing so many animals today, we had a discussion around how to use art to help with this problem. We also happened to be practicing persuasive writing at the time, so it was a perfect tie-in for students to learn how to advocate for animals.
As a class, my students designed a piece of artwork that consisted of over 20 endangered species. We placed the artwork on t-shirts and sold them online to raise money for WWF. I was familiar with the organization and after sharing its mission with the children, they agreed that WWF would be great stewards of our donation.
My goal as a teacher is to help children see that they matter. I want them to know that they can accomplish big things and make a difference. I also want them to grow with an understanding of how our choices, both positive and negative, impact our world. Helping children see how this applies to conservation is empowering for them. In many cases, they become the teachers of their parents and grandparents, widening the impact their positive choices can make.