Forty students from Francophone – a French immersion elementary charter school that neighbors O’Dowd – visited the Living Lab on June 2 and had a chance to explore and play in this special natural space.
Transitional kindergarten and second grade students, along with their teachers and parent chaperones, rotated through immersive activities facilitated by Living Lab staff members. These included a story circle, bug observation, an arts and crafts station featuring materials from the garden, and meeting the chickens. The students especially enjoyed interacting with O’Dowd’s flock of 30 chickens and discovering the many small critters living among the Living Lab garden veggies.
“I liked learning about the chickens and then I got to hold one. I was scared at first, but then I wasn’t,” said one TK student of the experience.
Another commented, “I liked tasting the plants – some tasted weird but other ones tasted good.”
Having community lessons in the Lab is a core mission for the O’Dowd Sustainability Department and Living Lab. “We wanted to provide Francophone students with a chance to play and explore in our special natural space and give them the opportunity to see how fun the outdoors can be,” Living Lab staff member Mariah Amter said.
Francophone teacher Jenny Weston said it was a special trip for the students to be able to walk only a few blocks to be in a different environment.
“Students got to hold chickens, learn about the chickens and their eggs, find bugs, do plant art, taste different plants, and more. We studied a whole unit on animals, including bugs, so it was great for students to be able to get their hands dirty and have science be something meaningful to them,” she said. “We hope this is only the beginning of the partnership between O’Dowd and Francophone Charter School.”