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November 17, 2023

By Emma Johnson, Communications Manager

Studies show that students who are content and feel a sense of belonging in their school community have a more effective learning experience. To cultivate this environment for our students, Fieldston Lower’s 1st Graders recently engaged with a project during Community Time known as the “My World” study. Tied into a unit on nutrition, students were asked to teach each other about their family cultures and home communities through food. 

In the curriculum’s nutrition portion, students learned about a range of food-related ideas, from the many tools we use to eat, like forks, spoons, and chopsticks, to the various categories of superfoods and how they benefit our different body systems. 

Students were also instructed to draw their own “superfood” plate incorporating some of their favorite fruits and vegetables — they even got to visit the cafeteria to recreate these plates with actual fresh produce. Through these lessons, they were taught to appreciate and acknowledge each other’s taste preferences, further developing an understanding that everyone has varied food preferences, which is perfectly okay!

After forming a foundation about food and nutrition, 1st Grade teachers Maddalena Loeb and Matt Cleary began to tie in cultural elements. To ensure that students felt supported in discussing identity — especially questions around favorite family meals and cultural roots — Loeb and Cleary sent a survey home to parents/guardians to gather their insights and important context. This information led to questions for creating the “My World” project revolving around favorite family meals, hobbies, what place(s) they consider home, and what students want to be when they grow up.

A combination of food facts and fun facts, the project encouraged students to make connections between their home communities and their school communities — celebrating their unique differences along the way. 

The shareouts allowed students to express themselves and foster a deeper understanding and appreciation for their peers. Not to mention, their drawings, which will soon be hung up in the hallway by their classroom, will serve as windows into the lives of our students and celebrate the rich tapestry of different cultures within our ECFS community.

Beyond positively impacting our students’ emotional well-being, the “My World” project aligns with ECFS’s commitment to promoting a healthy community and a strong sense of belonging. By blending personal stories with essential touchpoints of the curriculum, Fieldston Lower’s 1st Grade teachers strengthen student bonds while teaching about food and nutrition. And who wouldn’t enjoy exploring the fascinating world of food?!