LINVILLE — For the last three years, students at Linville-Edom Elementary School have spent the month of October participating in inclusion activities to promote diversity.
Each year Principal Amy Painter tries to add something to make the event a little different than the year before. Thanks to a collaborative effort with students from Broadway High School and James Madison University, and a grant from the Spotswood Garden Club, that came in the form of new “kindness gardens” behind the school.
A number of unused and poorly maintained flower beds are now the site of seats for students to read in and brightly painted rocks that spell out “Bee Kind.”
The beds once held sunflowers, but due to lack of interest had become more weed beds, Painter said.
Last spring students from JMU spent a day clearing out the weeds to make way for another use. And as part of a service day, students from Broadway High School mulched the beds.
The beds have a reading theme, with direction signs that give the locations of fictional literary locations such as Hogwarts, Oz and Narnia.
The idea to have each student paint their own rock came from a book called “Only One You,” by Linda Krantz.
“It’s a book about kindness and wisdom,” said school counselor Angie Strite.
By painting their own rock, it shows beautiful it is to be different, added Painter.
Along with this activity, throughout the month of October students will hear from a number of community members with varying abilities to help celebrate differences.