On a rainy spring day, Warren Wilson College (WWC) opened its farm to first grade students at W.D. Williams Elementary. Students explored the farm and gardens with current college students. The children were immersed in animal habitats and ecosystems on the farm. They also observed the process of composting and created stories from nature found near the garden.
“This partnership is an 18-year collaboration between the environmental education program at WWC and W.D. Williams Elementary,” said WWC Professor Mallory McDuff. “So for me, seeing the first graders working with the college students is witnessing a collaboration that goes far beyond this one project.”
The students in Ms. McDuff’s environmental education class put together two days full of activities focused around the theme “Sharing Skills from the Land.” One day the elementary students had a first hand look into a college campus, and the second day the college students came to visit W.D. Williams Elementary.
“College students and elementary students in our valley have much to learn from each other,” explained Ms. McDuff. “For the first graders, this project gives them exposure to the land at Warren Wilson and a college experience with older students excited to work with them.”
Students in Claudia Castillo Sanchez’s dual immersion class were able to work on their Spanish with the bilingual college students. They learned a lot about the WWC farm through another language.
“My students enjoy the idea of interacting with bilingual people,” Ms. Sanchez said. “They feel proud to be bilingual. Giving them the opportunity to interact with teachers and college students that are bilingual is very cool for them. It gives a real meaning and use of the language they are learning.”
By: Breanna Hensley
BCS Communications Dept.