The Children’s House was visited by Christi-Anne Plough a current parent this Tuesday, to read and work with the Kindergartners on the subject of giving back to the community. The students gathered for a reading of “Stone Soup” written by Heather Forest, and then work on an activity reinstating the stories theme of pitching in to accomplish a community goal. This activity was the groundwork of the ultimate objective, which was to create an understanding for the food drive that has been installed at Children’s House with elements of the story for a reminder.

The Stone Soup project is an attempt to give our Kindergartners an introduction to the concepts of food insecurity and community service at an appropriate level. The tale of Stone Soup has been told in many ways and many cultures, and Heather Forest’s retelling with beautiful multiracial illustrations by Susan Gaber is an engaging vehicle for this discussion. At the beginning of the story, no one in town wants to help out some hungry travelers. The travelers offer to cook for everyone, saying that they can make soup from just water, a stone, and a magic ingredient. They cajole the villagers into chipping in just a little of what they have, whether it be one green bean or a single kernel of corn. By the end of the tale, there is a fragrant, nutritious soup that that the community enjoys together. Both the villagers and our Kindergartners learned that with the magic ingredient of sharing, everyone has enough!

We had a rousing discussion of the book and then drew parallels with needs in our community. We discussed that rather than the big black pot in which the villagers made their soup, many towns have a food pantry where we can donate food to share with our neighbors in need. The students made colorful Stone Soup fliers to share this message with their families. We’d love families to shop with their children for donations. They get a deep sense of satisfaction from bringing in their contribution and placing it in the big “Stone Soup” collection pots in their classroom! As students make their small contributions each day, they see it grow and what they can accomplish together as a group. In December the Kindergartners will deliver the school’s gift to the food pantry operated by the Natick Service Council, where they will receive a tour and more information that reinforces the message of the project.”

-Christi-Anne Plough

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