Every year Miss Kasea and the rising first graders think of a special project to celebrate their accomplishments of Kindergarten and to mark their rising as first-grade children. The projects are varied and always come from the hearts and experiences of the children. Informed by where they are and what they wish to carry forward in a very special and meaningful way. 

As we all know, this year has been exceptionally different and challenging, to say the least. In the second week in March, we had to physically leave our cozy classroom cottage and begin to discover a new way of living and connecting with one another.

“The whole world was in isolation and quarantine and the effects of the lack of human touch and connection soon began to take its toll on both the adults and the children of our communities. It was hard to even see the smile behind the mask if there even was one. People were afraid.” 

I thought long and hard over many weeks about our rising first-grade project. I meditated over many days and nights on the nature of the heart of our project. I thought about each rising first grader and their families in quarantine. I considered their emotional well being, their access to supplies and resources in quarantine, and their need for love, connection, and empowerment at this time.

I knew that I didn’t want our project to be stressful, hard to understand, or taxing on families or the children themselves. The project is meant to be fun, inspirational, and meaningful. I looked at what families were already doing with their time at home and identified that everyone was taking walks outside and all of the children were creating in their homes with whatever supplies they had. Using my observations and with the heart of the purpose of our project at the center I created the form of this year’s rising first-grade project – “Project Love”

“Love is the heart and center of our curriculum. It fuels the essential fires of a lifetime of educational interest and inspiration.”

Love of ourselves, love for our friends and family, and love of our community, environment, and our world. As you know there can be no peace, no harmony, and no healthy existence without love, understanding, and compassion.

Project love was established as our rising first-grade project to spread and share love in a time when through social distancing it was hard to share and feel the love of others. It was created to empower our 6 and 7-year-old children who have felt powerless through this experience to be called on and know they are needed. To bolster and validate our work out of love through connecting and sharing our love with others in our community. 

We wanted to make people smile, feel happiness, beauty, joy, and love, and to feel that love ourselves in the making and sharing of our creations. Healing for everyone.

“Project Love” was set up on our Google Classroom through letters, videos, and Zoom meetings for both parents and children as well as emails. It was a series of 6 Missions. 

Mission #1 – Take a nature walk to find river stones, bark, pine cones, or any other natural objects. Also, one could use paper plates, paper, etc…Collect and painting supplies, markers, or crayons.

Mission #2 – Meet on Zoom to paint and create together with messages and pictures that inspire happiness, joy, and love.

Mission #3 – Ask parents to take photographs and send them to me as well as share them with one another.

Mission #4 – Place our creations in areas where they would inspire others. It was our hope that when others found them they would feel love and place them somewhere else to spread more love. Photographs were taken to share where our creations were placed.

Mission #5 – Meet on Zoom again to share our stories about our placements and experiences and to hear about our next mission.

Our mission’s goal to spread love, happiness, and peace due to Covid-19 took on more significance and importance as our hearts, communities, and the world exploded in extreme anger, injustice, and grief at the murder of yet another person of color. There was a need now than ever for our children to be empowered to express themselves and share those expressions with their community. To share the love! Their final mission was clear.

Mission #6 – Take sidewalk chalk and draw pictures and words on the pavement where people walk and share the love.

Kasea Rowland Myers is a lead kindergarten teacher at the Waldorf School of Philadelphia where she has worked for 17 years. Kasea holds a Master’s of Education from Antioch University in elementary education 1st – 8th grade with a specialization in Early Childhood. She is a mentor for new teachers both at home and in sister schools and enjoys facilitating workshops at Waldorf teaching conferences based on her thesis Working With The Spirits Behind Nature. Kasea is serving on the Faculty Development Group at the Waldorf School of Philadelphia and currently serves on the Board of Trustees.