NewburyportNews.com, Newburyport, MA

Local News

January 3, 2011

Preschoolers' lesson on town boosts food pantry

If you've seen preschool children walking downtown with wagons full of goodies in tow, you've seen Parker River Community Preschool students learning about Rowley through hands-on activities. The preschool, located at 181 Main St. next to Pine Grove School, provides a community-based program with a strong focus on nature, leading the students to partake in many walks.

Most recently, while studying the town of Rowley, the students visited the Rowley Food Pantry during one of their walks. After interviewing the women working there and returning to their classroom, the students discussed how they could help the pantry.

"They honed in on two things: that there were only two jars of baby food on the shelf and that the chairs that the women were sitting in were not in the best of shape," said Hilary Odoy, one of the preschool teachers who accompanied the students on the trip."

The students then wrote and sent out a letter to parents requesting donations. They set up a collection area with signs and baskets, and sorted and counted all of the donations. "We have been delivering the donations by walking our wagon over to the pantry on Tuesdays now for more than a month, and the students are still working on how to get the ladies some new chairs," the school reports.

The students' study of Rowley will continue through the year, with proposed visits to the firehouse, the church tower, the library, the post office, the pharmacy and bakery, and the Council on Aging.

"We are bringing our study of the town into the classroom, too, by adding photos of Rowley buildings taped to blocks to the block area in the school, as well as posting a giant map of Rowley to study and post where we have visited and where we live," Odoy said.

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