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Apr 2001 / young minds :: email this story to a friend

Who Are the People in Your Neighborhood?
By Amanda E. Doyle

"This is how to play: There are eight big balls, four red and four blue. There is one small heavy white ball. You roll the small ball down the court. Then you roll a big blue ball down the court. The team keeps on taking turns." —Dan M.

The Hill

Remember in school, back in third grade, when you and your classmates learned how to play bocce ball from old Italian men? No? Well, neither do I.

Pity we didn't attend The College School (TCS), in Webster Groves, where bocce ball, trips to an authentic Italian grocery store, lunch at the taqueria and time to just explore are an integral part of the third grade curriculum. It's part of the students' study of Communities, and their recollections of their experiences are further proof that truth often springs from the mouths of babes.

"On The Hill we discovered that the food is less expensive to buy than at our grocery stores. For example, I bought a loaf of bread at Viviano's Bakery for 33 cents, including tax. At my Grocery store, the same loaf of bread might cost $1.39." —Gracie H.


Third-grade teacher Mindy Bhuyan explains the process: "We all set out together to explore these neighborhoods, with the purpose of finding commonalities, the kinds of things that all communities have — places where people work, eat, live, worship and reflect." The students find out what's important about an area from the people who know it best, and at some point in their day, they are charged with finding a real, live person in the neighborhood to interview. The questions they ask — Are you happy with where you live? What do you value most in your community? What would you change? — challenge the students to see the good and not-so-good in every part of town.

By the end of the year, TCS third-graders will have visited The Hill, South Grand, the Central West End, University City, Cherokee Street, and Carondelet. As they investigate each neighborhood, you can read their observations on their Neighborhood Discoveries web site.

Church and State | Games | Expatriates | Communities | From the Source
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© 2001 The Commonspace