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Stop to smell the mangoes

Posted Nov 8th, 2018

Dear Friend of the What If? Foundation,
fruit day pre k elbast

While the Father Jeri School is very proud of its academic success, students don’t spend all day, every day behind books. Play time, as well as real-world practical experience, are guiding principles of the school’s philosophy. And last week that philosophy came to life in wonderful ways.

Like Fruit Day, where kindergarten students had a chance to see, touch, smell and taste part of the core curriculum. As Program Director Lavarice Gaudin says, “Drawings of fruit are in the textbook. But many of these children don’t have fresh fruit at home, or understand where juice comes from. So we invite the papayas, coconuts and bananas to class with us. Imagine touching and tasting a mango for the first time … their faces lit up!”

students planting Oct 2018_4Meanwhile, students of every age joined hands to plant trees along the newly paved driveway, and got a lesson about nature in the process. Instilling the students with a sense of ownership and responsibility for the school grounds has always been essential in the eyes of Na Rivé, because it translates to civic responsibility and participation later on in their lives. Says Lavarice, “When dust becomes a garden, there’s a change in the students too. They show you how proud they are. The Philo students are actually angry with me because this is their last year and the school just keeps getting more beautiful!” Imagine how proud they’ll be when their new garden is in bloom next summer, right around graduation time. We can’t wait to see it!

With love, gratitude and a sudden craving for fruit salad,

Suzanne Alberga
Executive Director