Embroidered tapestry illustrating the life cycle of plants

Growing Up Green at Mount Rainier Elementary School

Children in Prince George’s County Public Schools know how to celebrate Earth Day! Through Growing Up Green, a PGCPS arts integration initiative, children in kindergarten classrooms learn environmental stewardship by experiencing nature first-hand, marveling in the wonders of our natural world, and nurturing a passion within themselves to respect and preserve it. Funded in part by a BGE Green Grant and the Chesapeake Bay Trust, the program engages kindergarteners in meaningful and authentic outdoor experiences that help connect them to their local ecosystems and inspire them to learn more about protecting our environment. The arts provide the vehicle that the students use to demonstrate and communicate their understanding to the greater learning community of their school.

At Mount Rainier Elementary School recently, YA roster artist Pam Negrin worked with young students to record their own observations of plant life over the course of her residency, The Life Cycle of Plants. On outdoor adventures, the class immersed themselves in the drama of nature. They set out to identify and explore the many characteristics of plant life in all of its forms: seeds, seedlings, mature plants, flowers, and fruit. Their drawings and observations were then rendered in colorful yarn, stitch by stitch into one large-scale embroidered mural for their entire school community to learn from and enjoy.

The children’s work serves as a reminder of one of the biggest lessons even our smallest students can teach us. Just as this kindergarten class’ finished mural is a collaborative effort, so is making our world a safe, strong, and healthy one for every living being. Happy Earth Day to all.

Pam Negrin’s artwork includes embroidery, appliqué, drawing, collage, improvisational quilting, printmaking and sculpture. Her residencies transform classrooms into creative and collaborative handwork studios where students create something beautiful together. Schedule one of Pam’s residencies for your classroom.

Celebrate Earth Day with songs by students

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In honor of Earth Day, we wanted to share some songs written last month by Hollywood Elementary second- and third-graders with teaching artist Sue Trainor during her residency at the school. During the program, students composed original songs about what they had learned about ecosystems, environmentalism, and recycling. Each of the seven participating classes performed their final piece for the other grades and parents. Take a moment to listen to some of the creative and fun songs they came up with!

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You can also find the songs on Soundcloud. Please share them with your networks in celebration of Earth Day!

Looking for an arts program that connects to environmental science for your students? Use Young Audiences’ searchable program database to easily find programs that align with specific Curriculum Connections.