ROXBURY, NJ (November 1, 2019) – Parents and teachers agreed this year that fourth graders at Nixon Elementary School in Roxbury Township would incorporate service learning into at least one of their class parties.
As part of their grade level Halloween party, students in Victoria Arms, Theresa McNemar, and Ashley Montano’s classes played games but also created goody bags for the senior citizens at Merry Heart Nursing Home in Succasunna.
“When the fourth-grade teachers shared the idea of connecting a service project to the party with the room parents, they were all 100% on board. The room parents worked together to come up with games for students to play and all of the project ideas for the party as well. They set everything up, brought everything we needed and really made sure everything went smoothly,” said Arms.
The goody bags included bookmarks decorated by the students, Halloween-themed slime, and additional treats added by the adults after school. “We made slime to be used for sensory stimulation or help them if they feel nervous,” shared fourth-grader Michael Esposito.
Arms explained the purpose of the visit sharing, “As part of our Social and Emotional Learning program we have been learning about empathy. Students were able to practice first hand sacrificing some time to make something special for others. This is a concept we want to instill in children while they are still young but it’s hard to grasp the idea until we actually have a situation in which we can think about what it’s like being in someone else’s shoes.”
Adding, “A Halloween party for most nine-year-olds isn’t memorable. It’s the same crafts and games (although they are slightly different each year). This year we are hoping they take with them the impact they made to the residents at Merry Heart and the life lessons they’ve learned about empathy, service, and giving back to the community.”
Fourth-grader Emily Brown, her younger brother Ian Brown (1st grade), Michael Esposito, his younger brothers Anthony Esposito (3rd grade) and Nathan Esposito (Gr K), and fourth-graders Liam Demova and Holden Riesebeck all made their way over to Merry Heart after school to deliver the special treats while still in their Halloween costumes.
The fourth graders who attended shared pictures and their experiences with the class the following day. “Students came back to class today explaining how many were in wheelchairs and needed help by nurses or other staff. They realized while they can just go to the store to get materials to make slime or other toys, the residents at Merry Heart are unable to do so. They got a small glimpse of how their lives are different and it brought the whole project together,” said Arms.
Students talked about the feelings of the seniors before and after they passed out the treats. “Students were able to then talk about other examples of showing empathy and how to talk to others that may wonder why we did what we did, why we would put others ahead of ourselves. Students stated that they would like to continue to do things for the senior citizens at Merry Heart throughout the year and brainstormed other opportunities to partner with the organization.”
The fourth-grade teachers are very proud of how the fourth graders are setting the example for the other leaders of tomorrow here in Roxbury.”
PHOTO ATTACHED (courtesy of Nixon School)
- Nixon students at Merry Heart
- Nixon students hand out goody bags at Merry Heart
- Nixon students hand out goody bags at Merry Heart 1
- Nixon students dance for the seniors at Merry Heart
- Nixon students arrive at Merry Heart with Goody Bags
- Nixon students at Merry Heart on Halloween (L to R): Anthony Esposito, Nathan Esposito, Ian Brown, Michael Esposito, Emily Brown, Liam Demova, and Holden Riesebeck
VIDEO ATTACHED (courtesy of Nixon School)
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