Lower School

The Heifer Project

Joanne Broussard, First Grade Teacher

"If they get an idea, I'd like them to think, 'Why not? Why can't we? What's in our way? How can we work around it?' I want them to remember that."

Video by Lily Wu-Laudun, '22, ExLabs

Students in Mrs. Joanne Broussard’s first grade class transformed a social studies lesson into a learning adventure. 
During their study of cultural anthropology, the students watched a video about children in a Tongan village in Africa, and were moved by the differences between their own comfortable lives and the lives of the children they saw. They began to ask questions about the children's access to water and education, and they began to wonder how they could help.

Instead of moving on to the next planned activity in the lesson, Mrs. Broussard encouraged the discussion and explored with the students ways that they could assist the African children. Their explorations led them to the Heifer International website, where they viewed different options for donors to fund aid to children and families in villages such as the one in the video. 

The first graders debated which options would make the most difference in the lives of the children, and decided to raise money to send a girl to school through Heifer International, a gift requiring a $275 donation. One student suggested hosting a cookie sale to meet the goal. After taking over the Lafayette Campus kitchens to bake more than 1,000 cookies, the students surpassed their goal of $275, and raised more than $700.

With the opportunity to help in more than one way, the students worked with a fourth grade class to write persuasive essays, argued their cases to their classmates, and voted on two different Heifer International packages. They chose sending a girl to school, providing communities with clean, healthy water, and a few other projects. With the final package, each student was able to gift at least one thing on his or her list. 

In the library, the students used both books and online resources to gather information about the cultures and economies of the different countries, why certain countries need the aid of Heifer International, and how their donations whelp.

The upper school ExLabs I creative communications class interviewd the students and Mrs. Broussard, and created documentaries of the project. The video shown above was created by a freshman in her first semester of ExLabs.

As the Heifer project demonstrates, ESA teachers have the freedom to follow where students lead. When the students’ questions drive learning, the result is an educational experience like no other. 

From an ESA Parent:

"I just wanted to let you know how you continue to impact our lives. [My daughter] saved all her money from chores, birthday, and Christmas after last year’s bake sale. I told her if she raised $150 dollars for clean water, I would match it. Last week she brought a zip lock full of cash to me and said, 'Here you go!' After I made the contribution last week she said, 'Now I need to do something else to make money. Can I have that lemonade sale?' (She’s been asking for a year.) So now we are on to day two of her lemonade sale and she has recruited her neighbor and friend. 
I wanted to thank you for being such an inspiration to our kids. The teachers of ESA meeting the kids where they are or where they want to be is what makes ESA so very special."

Episcopal School of Acadiana

Episcopal School of Acadiana is a private coeducational day school for students in grades PK3 through 12. Our mission is to instill in every student the habits of scholarship and honor.

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