The world has changed drastically in the last two months. And many of us are re-thinking the way things worked prior to the COVID-19 pandemic. We’re wondering, “Do we want things to go back to the way they were?” “Was that working for us?” This has a team from Thetford thinking about what more is possible for our communities.
Joette Hayashigawa, retired Thetford Elementary School (TES) nurse and place-based education champion envisions TES as a place where all children feel valued and loved by what their surroundings do for them. “A lot of children come from difficult home lives,” she says, ”but if their school life, which takes up most of their day, provides good food, stimulating brainwork, fun, joyful, challenging things to do, and love and nurturing from their schoolmates and staff, this will make a huge difference in their outlook on life.”
Joette, along with school principal, Chance Lindsley, and farm to school coordinator, Cat Buxton, have been involved in a number of recent discussions aimed at how they can build on the incredible place-based education taking place at TES to provide an even more holistic and meaningful educational experience centered on building a thriving community.
“When we think of building community,” says Chance, “we are really talking about the health and wellbeing of every individual within that community. TES is a school community where we are feeding children healthy food, nurturing their sense of belonging, and instilling a sense of responsibility for this place, whether it’s the people in it or the natural environment. Now, this pandemic is making us ask, ‘Is this enough?’ ‘What else is possible?’ ‘How could academic progress be deepened as our connections to the environment are enriched?’ And I imagine it’s possible that we could transform education to lead the change needed for environmental, social, and economic justice.”