Small in years, but big in heart, 25 five-year-old Scarborough students recently collected food for people in their community with the help of their teacher.
The senior kindergarten students from Alexander Stirling Public School are the school’s first French immersion class. Looking to celebrate their 100th day of school, the students accepted an idea from their teacher, Famina Nanji, they organize a food drive to collect 100 non-perishable food items for a local food bank.
“Counting by 10 is a really important thing for them to learn, so I thought, to make it a really relevant way of doing so, why not collect 100 items for the local food bank, and that way we can count up to 100 and make groups of 10 of the food items,” Nanji said, noting the exercise also tied into the students’ character education training, which so far has seen them learn about fairness, kindness, caring and friendship.
“I thought this would be a really neat way to involve the local community as well,” she added. “To give back to the local community and do something nice for other people, as well as working on the math concept.”
To help collect the 100 food items, Nanji appealed to all of the school’s students, who jumped at the chance to support the drive.
“The response was really nice, and it was pretty amazing,” she said. “We were able to reach our goal, and double it, within about a week.”
They collected more than 200 items, which she used to teach her students sorting and graphing as well.
The five-year-olds were thrilled they were able to help out people in their community, showing empathy and generosity beyond their years, she said.
“I asked them how does it feel,” Nanji said. “They’re like I feel really thankful, and I feel really happy, and it’s really nice because we can help them survive, you know the people that we’re donating to, and maybe they don’t have enough money to buy the food, so we can help them and they can survive, and maybe it’ll give them more energy so that they can play.”
As Alexander Stirling’s flagship French immersion class, the senior kindergarten students are a special addition to the school.
“It’s really neat, the kids seem so proud, they’re like, ‘Oh we’re in the French class.’ And the other kids in the hallway pass by and they say bonjour,” Nanji said. “It’s like they know that it’s like a really special thing to be a part of ... The parents are very thankful and appreciative that there is actually this program that is available to their kids, and they’re proud that their kids are part of that program.”
Subsequent French immersion grades will be added at the school as the students progress.