Learning To Respect Our Elders

FullSizeRender (1)Last month, the first grade class took a small field trip to visit our neighbors at MorningStar Assisted Living and Memory Care. The elders were shining bright after spending time with their new friends. Last summer, as MorningStar took form, I couldn’t hold back my excitement to collaborate with them. I have felt for years that American culture is losing its connection to the lessons of the past. Our culture seems to have lost its reverence for the wisdom of our elders. My goal was to give the first grade class an experience that helped build respect and interest in our elders’ experience.

I made my first visit to MorningStar over the summer, before they even had any residents. Sally Harkins, the life-enrichment coordinator at MorningStar, was thrilled by my idea to develop a relationship.  My idea was to have the first graders be part of helping to create a little history book of the MorningStar community members. Two years ago, I spent six months in El Salvador helping a rural community create their first written account of history. The literate youth interviewed the illiterate elders, and we made a history book all about their community. If you are interested to know more, please follow the links below. I am still trying to get more books down to the community.

Inspired by the success of the project I did in El Salvador, I wanted to do the same kind of thing here. With several parent helpers, we headed to meet the crew. Five elders joined the first grade class. We started by doing an art activity. The elders drew something they were proud of from their life and the students drew their dreams. This broke the ice and warmed everyone up to sharing more about their lives. In a round table discussion, we started posing the questions the students generated. Over a two-hour period, we gathered fifteen pages of information about the elders’ lives. Since then, the students have drawn pictures to go with the stories. The book is in its final editing process and should be delivered as a holiday gift to MorningStar.

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The residents of MorningStar are excited to further deepen our relationship and may come join us for the Winter Sing. Please keep a look out for them and welcome them into our community.

To read more about my project in El Salvador: http://www.dailycamera.com/ci_21608943/boulders-garrett-brown-returning-history-por-la-gente

To buy a book and/or donate to the cause:

Happy Holidays,
Garrett Braun
1st Grade Science and Geography
Kindergarten/Preschool Spanish