“They are now aware that they are responsible for caring for their environment and their actions,” she said.
Jamaica kindergarteners win recycling award
They just asked for a larger garbage pail, and ended up winning a prize.
Twenty-five kindergarten children of the P.S. 50 Talfourd Lawn School in Jamaica took home a big win at the Department of Sanitation’s Golden Apple Awards, granted for recycling and waste prevention projects in schools.
Competing in the Elementary Division and the Reduce and Reuse category, P.S. 50 was the only Queens school that won a citywide challenge. Five other Queens schools got recognized within the borough in the three TrashMasters! contests, which also included Super Recyclers and Team Up to Clean Up.
“We could not believe we actually won, since it was never mentioned in class that our ideas were being used to enter a contest,” said Talfourd Lawn School teacher Juliana Almeida.
According to Almeida, the children’s recycling efforts started spontaneously, when a student in her class realized that a garbage pail was overflowing. “We wrote a letter to the principal asking for larger pails,” Almeida says.
Their demands were not met, but the class became more conscious of the waste they generated, and started recycling their snacks’ packaging.
After doing some research, they bought 25 super worms that ate the leftover lunch food and created compost, which was “used to fertilize the marigold plants we gave to the elderly at the elderly rehab center in our neighborhood,” Almeida said.
In a few weeks, the kindergarten had become an authentic recycling laboratory:
“Styrofoam we used in the math center,” Almeida said. “Box drinks were reused to hold crayons, pencils, and erasers. Milk cartons were used as planters; extra cartons were donated to Day Care of America. Bottle caps were used to make games such as tic-tac-toe.”
Other Queens borough winners of the 2010 Golden Apple Awards are P.S. 56 Harry Eichler School in Richmond Hill, Our Lady of Perpetual Help in South Ozone Park and P.S. 224 at P.S. 26 Rufus King in Fresh Meadows, P.S./I.S. 178 Q Holliswood School in Holliswood and Jamaica High School Q470.
The annual competition is open to K-12 schools in New York City. Participating students will receive gifts, including t-shirts and recycling beanie bins.
“Participating in the Golden Apple Awards teaches our city’s youngest citizens important lessons in sustainability,” said Sanitation Commissioner John J. Doherty in a statement.
Juliana Almeida believes the award will have a “positive lifelong effect” on her class.