Breakwater has been celebrating Earth Week for over 30 years. What began as spark of hope and a desire to teach children how to love and care for our planet, quickly turned into a week long (read: lifelong) journey of exploration, education, sun, mud, and joy. Back in 1987, Sari Lindauer (former science and tinkering teacher) brought the idea to a handful of Breakwater educators after studying the work of Steve Van Matre and his book, Sunship Earth. That group of teachers, which included both Cheryl Hart (current 5/6 teacher) and Alex Johnston (current EC essentialist), were immediately taken with the idea and Earth Week, as we now know it, was born.
Earth week is about celebrating the earth and all the richness and wonder it provides. At Breakwater, we feel as though part of our duty as educators is to help our students discover, explore and grow their knowledge base about all the amazing things our planet has to offer. In Maine, we feel so grateful to have countless opportunities to play in nature and during our annual Earth Week, we take every chance we can to do so. From explorations of parks of yesteryear, to spotting rare birds in the ponds of Evergreen Cemetery, to making pumpkin soup, our students get chances to feel the wonder in a multitude of ways while using all their senses and modalities. Students enjoyed homemade wintergreen tea in the forest, and made art from recycled materials. They participated in coastal clean ups and traveled the city in search of signs of change and progress. They built hoop houses in Breakwater’s garden and made food from the harvest of the vegetables they nurtured to help grow. They jumped in mud puddles and made mud pies, met with community members, and went on long hikes in the woods. In finding opportunities to interact with nature in a variety of ways, students learn not only to become stewards of, and to take care of our earth but also to love it, respect it, treasure it. That work is supremely important.
Below, check out a list of all the activities students participated in by grade level, including our optionals, which are multi-age self-chosen activities that take place during the afternoons. Finally, be sure to watch our annual Earth Week slideshow so you might feel like you were there celebrating with us! Happy Earth Week, Breakwater! It was a GREAT one.
Earth Week - Day One
October 21, 2019
Making Pumpkin Soup (T), Visiting the Fore River Sanctuary (finding a snapping turtle!) (PS), Forest Monday (K), Fore River for Art, Spanish and Journaling (1/2), Evergreen Cemetery (3/4), Habitat Activity in Ocean Park (5/6), City Walk by Bike and City Bus (7/8)
Earth Week - Day Two
October 22, 2019
Visiting Breakwater’s Garden (T), Trashless Tuesday and making beeswax wrappers (PS), Wonder and Mural Making (K), Wonder - Interviews and Art Projects (1/2), Neighborhood Walk and Apple Crisp Making (3/4), Evergreen Cemetery for Birding and Tree Identification and Bee Exchange (5/6), Riverton Trolley Park (7/8).
Optionals: Sneaking Through the Woods, Biking, Toy making in the Curiosity Lab, Mural Making, Coastal Clean up, Big Hike, Nature Poetry, Treasure Hunt.
Earth Week - Day Three
October 23, 2019
Leaf and Flower Pounding Art (T), Art from Recycled Materials (PS), Wonder (K), Visits from Portland Firefighters and Iron Will Strength Gym (1/2), Work in the Garden (3/4), Tree, Bee and Bird Integrated Study (5/6), Polarization Videos (7/8)
Optionals: Sneaking Through the Woods, Biking, Toy making in the Curiosity Lab, Animal Tag, Nature Crafts, Hoop House Building, Recycled Art, Treasure Hunt, Nature Clean Up, Coastal Clean up.
Earth Week - Day Four
October 24, 2019
All School Jessieland Day!
What a beautiful day at the Jessieland. The entire school (T-8) spent our last day of Earth Week at the Jessieland together - at the campfire, building fairy houses, and exploring the stream and forest. The Jessieland is a 21 acre conservation land that was donated by the Crewe family in honor of their amazing young daughter, Jessie who had a great love of the natural world. We left that last afternoon breathing a collective sigh for a beautiful week, honoring the best of outdoor education, for the ability to spend such quality time with friends and family and feeling so lucky that we call this place home.