On Friday, May 21, our fourth-grade students presented their entrepreneurial projects on how they want to bring the Canterbury atmosphere to life!
Earlier in March, Head of School Rick Kirschner challenged them to tackle two problems the school faces: curb appeal and inspiration. The students were split into small teams within their classes to compare ideas, research, and build their presentations. The groups worked independently of each other and only practiced their slideshows with the teachers, but similar topics or methods emerged. Ms. Stephenson pushed our fourth-graders to support each solution they presented with factual data from a reliable source. The bar was set high for this group of fourth-graders, and wow, did they deliver!
Many of the groups advocated for more landscaping and gardening. Having an active student garden would not only be a mindfulness activity but another beautiful spot on campus. One group recommended having a flower patch in the shape of a cougar, much like how Walt Disney World features a flower design of Mickey Mouse at the front entrance of the theme park. As for the flowers at the front entrance of the school, the groups seem split. Some wanted to install sunlight above the flowers tucked currently in the shadows of the front entrance so they can grow more. Others wanted to plant flowers that are less dependent on sunlight, like the Pinwheel Jasmine, the Burning Heart, or the Butterfly Iris.
Another popular point of discussion was promoting our athletics. Currently, the wall of the Old Gym across from the Ellenberg Library is decorated with cutouts of various athletes at Canterbury. However, the portraits have not been redone since 2016; one group pushed that it should be changed every year, with the MVP of each team to be featured. At the end of each year, the player could keep the cut-out when it is replaced. Some groups found ways to emphasize school spirit on the way to the gyms and out on the FineMark field. From LED lights under the bleachers for night games to school spirit banners up throughout the year to a cougar emblem at the center of FineMark field, these fourth-graders sure have a lot of Canterbury spirit!
In true balance, our fourth-graders all focused on the presence of the arts around our campus, too. Any murals designed and painted in the school could be a collaborative effort between Canterbury’s Visual Arts Department and our students. Each group had a different mural in mind and eagerly shared their ideas. Some wanted specialty-specific murals for each classroom, like Mrs. Hall’s classroom having a math mural. One group wanted to rely on 3D materials, just like the new music mural outside of the band room. Another group would prefer sleek, glossy photos to spice up the walls. Some groups even recommended using famous inspirational quotes rather than images. The most popular idea among the students, displaying the handprints of every fourth-grader to form the leaves of a tree, has already been adopted! Mrs. Ernst will coordinate with our soon-to-be fifth-graders whether they will decorate the future tree outside of the Performing Arts Center next week or at the beginning of the fall semester. “I love that this is another touchpoint in the school for the kids to return to,” shared Mrs. Ernst. “I think this a great tradition that we can put in place, and it gives the Seniors yet another reason to return to the Lower School.”
Every project made a point of mentioning a simple maintenance goal that could be easily achieved. These included replacing the trashcans throughout the school with ones painted by students, replacing the cement benches outside with more weather-sturdy materials, and more drains to help with the flooding in the LSJ courtyard during our notorious rainy season. One group thought outside the box, or rather, into an aquarium, with an idea for the expansion of the Torpey Touch Tank. They wanted to build a dedicated space for koi fish and ducks to encourage Canterbury families to interact more on campus. Speaking of interaction, a great idea that came forward was to play music on the loudspeakers during the non-class time! They even included sample songs in the presentation and danced to the music. A final idea that stuck out was to replace the letter sign at the front entrance of the school. The sign has been here as long as Mrs. Ernst has, meaning the board is at least 21 years old. The students recommended replacing it with digital signage to match the modernity of our screens in the Murphy Sports Center and on FineMark Field.
We are incredibly proud of these fourth-grade students! Between the research and their presentations, it is clear that they are ready to conquer fifth grade this August.