PreK students celebrate Earth Day

By BRITTANY FHOLER 
Cove Leader-Press 

Students at Mae Stevens Early Learning Academy learned about the importance of recycling and taking care of the Earth Tuesday morning. 
Keep Copperas Cove Beautiful Executive Director Roxanne Flores-Achmed visited the pre-kndergarten campus and shared a lesson in the school’s Science Lab about recycling and taking care of the community, while Recycle Michael went from classroom to classroom and showed kids what they can recycle and where. 
In the Science Lab, students had the opportunity to visit different activity stations, from making butterflies from coffee filters and pipe cleaners and dipping them in water with food dye to coloring their planet Earths, drawing on cut up pieces of newspaper or sorting plastic from blue and green crinkled paper. 
Another activity involved the students sorting plastic, trash, metal, glass and paper items from a bowl and placing them on a “Garbage Pizza”.  This taught the students how to divide their recyclables from the nonrecyclables but showed them things they might already be familiar with, Flores-Achmed said. 
“What we’re trying to do is we have different stations for the kids to actually learn about how they can use some of the resources that they already have available in their homes,” Flores-Achmed said. “For example, the newspaper. Some people may read the paper, but when they’re done, they can use it to draw pictures, they can use it to fold and make paper airplanes, so just using your resources wisely that you may have available.”
This station was the favorite activity for Myking Simmons, 5, who said he doesn’t like to tear up his paper at home but learned that it’s possible to reuse newspaper to make new things. 
Flores-Achmed said it is important even for students as young as those at Mae Stevens to learn about recycling because “this is their environment, this is their community and we got to get them young for them to take care of it.”
If the students don’t learn, they grow up and end up wasting and passing that mindset onto their peers and eventually their own children, she said. 
“We want to get to them [while they’re young] so they understand this is our planet and our community and we have to take care of it,” Flores-Achmed said. 
Throughout the next six weeks, the students will be rotating through the Science Lab and learning about sustainability, according to Principal Marry Derrick. 
“It gives them an opportunity to practice it and see it in action and get a better understanding when they do hands on. That’s what pre-k is all about,” Derrick said. 
Copperas Cove has a single stream recycling program, where residents don’t have to sort their items as extensively. 
CCISD is the largest contributor to the city’s single stream recycling program, with each classroom in every school having a blue recycling bin. 
The city accepts office paper, magazines, phonebooks, cardboard, aluminum cans, newspaper, plastics #1-#7 (except plastic bags/wraps), and steel cans. It does not accept Styrofoam, plastic wrap or bubble wrap, glass, plastic shopping bags, clothes or hoses, tools or appliances. 
“I think it’s important that students learn at an early age to start taking care of the Earth and reusing, reducing and recycling,” Derrick said. “It’s amazing how if the kids start talking about it and doing it, how much more the parents will do it. They’ll be more focused on it.”
Derrick added that people like her won’t always be around and the responsibility for the planet will fall to the children, who will need a healthy Earth to live on. 

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