R kids is an after school program for Geneseo elementary school students grades 4-6 run by Geneseo alum Declan Dwyer-McNulty (class of 2017) for his AmeriCorps VISTA program. It is an “after-school enrichment program that seeks to foster confidence, competence, and a sense of community.” The R kids program was held three days a week from 3-4:30 at Saint Michael’s Episcopal Church on Main Street. The group of kids that we worked with ranged from 8-12 individuals, depending on the day.
Prior to our arrival at the R kids program, Declan had worked to promote an atmosphere that fostered being environmentally conscious citizens. Once a week the students made fruit smoothies for their snack, and would take the food waste to the compost pile behind the church. Additionally, Declan would bring in speakers such as a nutritionist to speak to the kids.
We would like extend our sincerest thanks to Declan, Saint Michael’s Church, and the R kids program for collaborating with us.
The purpose of our community engagement project is to promote education among Geneseo’s youth on environmentalism and sustainability. Our project will use a series of fun activities to tackle topics of green energy sources, endangered species, and the benefits of switching to reusable materials to reduce waste.
We will be working with Declan Dwyer-Mcnulty and the R Kids program to lead a series of activities for seven children from the Geneseo community ranging from grades 4 through 6. The first day we meet with the kids, we will talk with them to establish their knowledge base. The second day we will do an activity on the topic of endangered species. On the third day we will do a field trip down to the e-Garden on campus where we will be teaching the kids about renewable energy, showing them the wind turbine and the solar panels and explaining what these do. Finally, at our fourth and final meeting we will determine to what extent the kids have retained the knowledge we have presented by playing a game in which they have to make decisions about utilizing different sources of energy. We hope that our project will teach the kids valuable lessons about sustainability that they will carry with them to hopefully bring back to their homes and classrooms.
First we plan on researching for each topic and then consolidating that information so that it is easy for elementary school students to understand. The next step will be to build activities surrounding these facts and lessons. We plan on meeting prior to every activity in our project to make sure we all understand what needs to be done in order for the activity to be successful. Depending on the weather, our endangered species activity will involve playing a game outside or inside where different environmental factors can affect endangered wildlife populations. For our second activity we are showing the kids the e-garden and the solar panels. Before the activity we will prepare facts about solar and wind energy to tell them as they see the different types of renewable energy. For our fourth activity we will prepare a few games. First we will research different types of environmentally themed games. Next we will decide what needs to be printed and made ahead of time. At the end of this activity we will have a brief discussion on what the kids have learned and what they have taken away from these activities.
We will display the activities we engage in with the kids via photos. All parents previously signed a photo release form, giving us express permission to do so. Prior to instruction, we will meet as a group to plan the lessons and afterwards, we will exchange notes as to how it went and how we can improve with the help of Declan. The pictures and the qualitative data we collect (or the notes that we take after the lessons) will be presented together in a powerpoint.