A kindergarten class at Willows Elementary School is exploring what it means to be a scientist in their community by looking at the connection between trees and kindness.
When Sally Hallam asked her students how they felt after playing outside under the oak trees in the schoolyard the students replied that they felt calm and happy — this launched an inquiry project for the class that has since expanded to the community called Connection is Kindness.
“I’ve taught them we’re all scientists, and I said usually scientists try to talk to many, many people to find out how they feel,” says Hallam.
The class learned how trees give off a chemical that makes people feel good when they’re outside, along with the positive impact trees can have on energy levels, immune systems and creativity.
“We learned that even looking at a photograph of a tree can have a similar impact to benefit us,” says Hallam.
Her class joined up with students from Oak Bay High’s photography class to snap some photos of trees in Bowker Creek.
Prior to the pandemic, the students were going to choose some of the best photographs to have printed and give them to care homes and hospitals to help spread the positive benefits that come with looking at trees.
The project almost stopped there, but then Hallam thought this would be the perfect time to expand the project to those stuck inside throughout the community.
Now students and members of the public are being asked to send in their photos of trees to be added to an online gallery of photos.
“This is my way of fighting climate change. When you teach young children especially to connect to nature and to feel that personal connection, they’re going to naturally develop a greater appreciation for the world and take better care of it,” she says.
To submit a photo, to view the photos or to learn more about the project visit connectionsinkindness.com.