Kindergarteners Building Community One Can At A Time

Deanna Pecaski McLennan

We ended the food drive feeling victorious! We were amazed that the final count of items totaled just over 5,000 – an unbelievable number in such a short time. We felt that after such a successful project it was imperative the children deliver the items in person. The children spent the final day decorating paper bags with images and words of hope; hearts, flowers and the words We care, We want to help, I love you covered each bag. The sight of those decorated bags, full of food and gathered in the front foyer of the school awaiting delivery, brought tears to my eyes.

We were greeted like celebrities when we arrived at The Mission. The administrative staff was waiting for us, along with many of the children’s family members. But the biggest surprise of all was a reporter from The Windsor Star – the very newspaper that had printed the article that sparked our call to action. The children were so excited!  After having their pictures taken the children went on a tour of The Mission and learned about all the different services available to the community. They visited the kitchen and eating area and presented their decorated bags of food to the staff.

As the children left The Mission that day they were thanked again and again for being “hunger heroes” who had helped those in need. They had completed the cycle of social change - recognizing a need, engaging in action, and helping to solve the problem so quickly and effectively.

The next day The Windsor Star prominently featured a picture of the children arriving at The Mission, clutching their decorated bags close to their hearts. As this inquiry ended I wondered what big idea they would think of next. What lasting influence would they have on the community? True change is most effective when it continues to call others to action, over and over again. Our young kindergarten children became heroes. What would our community be inspired to do next?

To see this inquiry in action please visit our class blog at www.mrsmclennan.blogspot.ca or follow us on Twitter @McLennan1977. An iMovie connecting photos, videos and other artifacts of learning from this inquiry can be viewed at http://youtu.be/iMNgpJMkkgg.

This inquiry was specific to our class. We hope that by sharing it with Voice readers others will be inspired to conduct similar projects to help those in need within their communities and beyond.

Tips For Organizing A Food Drive

  1. Recognize a need in the community and discuss the problem with children in a comfortable format.
  2. Use mentor texts to build background knowledge and help children connect emotionally to the problem.


man staring intently at something out of frame

Dave Wing is the president of the Kawartha Pine Ridge ETFO Local. He started teaching in 1989.

teachers sitting together at table with open textbooks in classroom

During the summer of 2006, as I was working through an AQ course, there was one question that I endlessly fretted over: how to initiate a p