Students Work With Immigrant Children at the Sustainability Academy - Vermont Commons School Skip to main content

Students Work With Immigrant Children at the Sustainability Academy

In this Research & Service class, we have been working with immigrant children at the Sustainability Academy (SA) as well as with adults from the Association of Africans Living in Vermont (AALV). We have been having discussions about where this population comes from, how they might have ended up here and why. We also began preparing a little for our work as ESL instructors with the Buthanese/Nepali adult group from the AALV. After a few weeks, we started working with the kids at the SA, assisting them one-on-one in the classrooms and in the library, or as a group in the art room. We read books, engaged them in conversations about their interests, and also helped them go through their regular activities in class.

We were also supposed to start working with the AALV earlier during this quarter but for reasons out of our control, we haven’t been able to start until the final week of the quarter. We just started with them last week, working in basic literacy skills since many of them lack any type of schooling, even in their own language. Below are some impressions from our kids about our visits so far.

While working with the kids, we experienced some very different personalities and different emotions. We had to learn how to deal with those at any time. I think this class has taught us how to interact with the community and reach out to groups of people that we probably would have never interacted with. It was also great for the kids to be able to look forward to meeting with an older kid they can look up to. We had so much fun talking and learning about where the kids came from, and I think that they really connected with us. I remember a little boy, Benny, who would always run up to us with a book, eager to read. They loved having us in their classes, and we would help them get ready to go home and organize them in line.

-Henry Harder ’17 and Ryan Senior ‘17

For the past few weeks we have been going to the Sustainability Academy at Barnes Elementary every Wednesday. Some of us have worked in the learning center with Mrs. Benz’s kindergarten class. In the learning center we read books to the students for about twenty minutes, and cleaned up after that. When we arrive, the kids are excited to see us and bombard us with requests of, “Can you read this book?” Some books we have read include Spiderman, Tinker Bell, Scooby Doo, and The Lorax. Once we start reading, the kids quiet down- they get “Honey Money” for being good listeners. “Honey Money” is a kind of bonus system for good behavior. It is rewarding to read to kindergartners because they can’t do it themselves. It also feels great because of the joy they get out of being read to. We encourage anyone who loves kids to volunteer at the Sustainability Academy. It has been an amazing experience and we look forward to going back each week.

-Mason Hill ’17 and Giselle Glaspie ‘15

-posted by Adrianna Comtois

Scholarship. Community. Global Responsibility.

Students emerge from their time at Vermont Commons School intrinsically motivated to seek out their role for improving the world, with the skills and competencies to do so.