Students from varying backgrounds gain from educational, social lessons
By Andrea Papagianis
Third-graders from varying socioeconomic backgrounds learned life-long lessons on giving and gratitude Tuesday as they met at the Ocean Institute for an ecological fieldtrip with a dose of societal education.
Nearly 60 students from St. John’s Episcopal School and Pio Pico Elementary School—in Rancho Santa Margarita and Santa Ana, respectively—explored tide pools, viewed gray whales in their natural habitat and shared tales of home life this week on a joint trip to Dana Point.
Through the Ocean Institute’s Adopt-a-Class program and a donation from students at St. John’s, the third-graders from Pio Pico, a Title 1 school, were able to attend the trip. It was part of St. John’s 25th anniversary celebration, which students are marking with 25 acts of gratitude.
“Today is a valuable lesson for all,” said Patty Stoecker, a teacher at St. John’s. “The students get to share their similarities … and what they are learning is that they have much in common with one another.”
Though they often seem worlds apart, Stoecker said today was about bringing the students together to learn lessons beyond the classroom. It started with letters each student wrote about school, family and their community, and culminated with their meeting to share in an educational experience.
“They are writing because they want to communicate and want to start a new relationship with these wonderful kids,” said Pio Pico teacher Patricia Osorio of students in her dual-language class. “Sometimes it is like my kids live in a little bubble, and this is a great opportunity for them to start new friendships and to get out of that bubble.”
While numerous classes have been sponsored through the institute’s adoption program, this was the first trip where one elementary class supported the other, said Adopt-a-Class manager Kat Dej-Panah. She said the institute’s hope is more schools will partner for fieldtrips, because it’s a “win-win” for all.
“I think for the first time they could see they can go out and apply what we learn in the classroom and have a connection to the real world,” Osorio said.
Find out more about Ocean Institute programming by visiting www.ocean-institute.org.
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