When we think of what goes on in the minds of 5- to 6-year-olds we tend to envision lemonade stands, candy, unicorns, running through sprinklers or whatever is hot on television at the moment. What we do not expect is that 5 to 6-year-olds are learning how to develop their moral compasses and are very pre-occupied with what is right or fair. As parents, grand-parents, aunts, uncles, when something such as a toy or treat is given to a sibling but not to them we often hear those words, “that’s not fair.”
Mrs. Corrigan’s kindergarten class in the Maplewood Richmond Heights School District is exploring the concept of what is fair and just at a level that most adults feel very overwhelmed with—homelessness.
According to the Statewide Homelessness study in 2017 conducted by the University of Missouri St. Louis, the total homeless population in St. Louis city in 2016 was 1,248.
When one student learned that there were people without homes they were compelled to bring this problem to their classmates for a solution.
Together the class agreed this was something that needed action. Mrs. Corrigan saw the enthusiasm and compassion amongst the class and decided to make this one of their many class projects.
The class started by creating a list of viable options of how they can make a difference in the unhomed community. One of the ideas that the class acted on was to make care packages with lotion, toothbrushes, and other personal hygiene products. This was made possible by one of the classes’ family who donated the care products and facilitated the project. The products were donated to a program that works with the homeless.
Currently the class is extending their efforts into raising money for local charities such as Potbangerz and Back@you. The students made houses with fences and grass to collect donations. They also wrote thank you notes for givers to take in exchange for their generosity. The students are using this opportunity to strengthen their math skills by sorting and counting the various denominations. The students have also discovered and learned about a new coin — the dollar.
The students have raised $400 to be donated to local charities such as Potbangerz and Back@you. Currently, the students have houses in various places in the school. The students have brainstormed ideas of places to feature the homes such as community centers, grocery stores, and libraries. The students have also proposed a lemonade stand in the spring.
The class is looking for more businesses around the area to help facilitate their work by displaying their homes to collect donation. If you or if you know someone who owns a business and is interested, please contact Ms. Kristin Corrigan at kristin.corrigan @mrhschools.net to arrange drop-off/pick-up of the houses.