Third-graders in California’s Rialto Unified School District recently trekked to City Hall for an Earth to Table event that offered lessons in civics and the environment, while also providing an opportunity for students to help others in their community.
“This is an opportunity for students to learn that what the earth produces can be on their table, or even be their table,” Rialto Mayor Deborah Robertson told well over 1,000 students at the April event, according to Island Empire Community News. “This is also an educational opportunity for students to become familiar with government and know that government isn’t foreign, but here for them.”
Too many community service projects or moral development activities seem like arbitrary add-ons to the academic curriculum. By connecting these endeavors more closely to the academic enterprise, they reinforce their importance in the minds of students. Researchers at the Institute for Advanced Studies in Culture have demonstrated that “moral thickness” is enhanced when grounded in authoritative sources. This program links the social, civic, moral, and scientific into a coherent whole thus strengthening its impact.
The third-annual event involved lessons about the benefits of planting trees, and other environmental topics, but the main event was centered on volunteer work for the Community Action Partnership Food Bank.
Students were divided into groups to pack a total of 250 boxes to help feed folks throughout the county.
“You will be packing 45 boxes in about 10 to 15 minutes,” food bank director Brandon Romano told the first group of students.
“Thank you for coming out and helping people who are less fortunate than us,” Mayor Pro Tem Ed Scott said as he banged a gong that set off the student production.
The Rialto Unified School District posted about the successful fieldtrip on Facebook.
Teachers and principals working to strengthen moral and citizenship formation in their students will find information and strategies at the UK’s The Jubilee Centre. The Jubilee Centre also has lesson plans for teacher use that supports the inclusion of moral and citizenship formation into the daily life of students at school.