Kindergarten students traveled to Benjamin’s upper school campus the week of April 26 for their second annual tree planting event. The event, founded and spearheaded by upper school social studies teacher Dr. Hope Myers, has become a highlight of the year for kindergarten students. This year’s class tree was named in honor of the School’s co-founder Nancy Benjamin.
The cross-divisional project allows young learners to plant a tree with the help of members of the senior class, with the goal that they will return to the tree over the span of their entire career at Benjamin and beyond.
“The Benjamin Tree Project follows in the pedagogical footsteps of our founders, Marshall and Nancy Benjamin, by using the campus environment to encourage student learning,” said Dr. Myers. “This little moment is a learning bridge between Early Elementary and the Upper School.”
Myers said the experience allows the School’s littlest Buccaneers to glimpse the campus where the “big kids” learn often for the first time. While the pandemic prevented the entire Kindergarten class to attend, five Benjamin Tree Ambassadors “stepped up to be Nancy’s experts in their classes,” said Myers. The Kindergarten class watched a filmed version of the event on Arbor Day.
“A unique part about our school culture is the interaction between our Lower and Upper School students,” said Head of School Mr. Dave Faus who attended the planting alongside Head of Lower School Dr. Kristen Sheehan.
“It was a real joy to see our seniors lead their Kindergarten friends through the tree planting activities,” said Faus.
Kindergarten students begin their exploration by measuring and tracking the height and diameter of their tree using non-standard units of measurement, including pieces of string.
Students will return to their tree in first grade and use standard forms of measurement to see how much it has grown. Once they reach the middle school, they will begin venturing into Algebra and applying it to the study of their tree. All of the data will be recorded and kept for students until they enter the upper school.
The project is funded by the Florida Sustainable Forestry Initiative-State Implementation Committee.