Outdoor classroom honored

The Arbor Day Foundation and Dimensions Educational Research Foundation announced last month that the outdoor classroom of the early childhood science lab at St. Martin’s Episcopal School in Brookhaven has received the national designation of a certified Nature Explore Classroom.

It is the first certified Nature Explore Classroom in Georgia and one of 15 in the nation. The first Nature Explore Classroom is in the Tree Adventure attraction at Arbor Day Farm, the Arbor Day Foundation’s interactive conservation venue in Nebraska City, Neb.

Nature Explore Classrooms are part of the Nature Explore Program, a collaborative project of the Arbor Day Foundation and Dimensions Educational Research Foundation. St. Martin’s outdoor classroom last year received National Wildlife Federation certification as a wildlife refuge.

Certified Nature Explore Classrooms are designed to fill the gap between children and nature by using research-based principles to integrate nature into young children’s learning.

“St. Martin’s Early Childhood Science Lab has taken an important leadership role in a profoundly needed initiative to connect young children with nature, setting a wonderful example for education centers across the country,” said John Rosenow, the chief executive of the Arbor Day Foundation. “Everyone at the Arbor Day Foundation and Dimensions Educational Research Foundation appreciates the commitment St. Martin’s Episcopal School has made to the Nature Explore Program.”

Appreciation for manufacturing pays off

DeKalb County School System has first place winners in the Manufacturing Appreciation Week Student Design Competition sponsored by Governor Sonny Perdue’s office. In the t-shirt competition, Lily Miller, a student from Lakeside, won first place. In the placemat competition,

Nabila Islam, a student at Kittredge Magnet School for High Achievers in Brookhaven, won first place in the placemat category of the annual Georgia Manufacturing Appreciation Week Student Design Competition, sponsored by Gov. Sonny Perdue’s office.

The placemat competition was open to elementary school students.

Manufacturing Appreciation Week recognizes the contribution of manufacturing to Georgia’s economy. The Student Design Competition involves children in the celebration and teaches them about manufacturing. In the competition, students from across Georgia submit artwork depicting the importance of manufacturing to their lives and communities.

Entrants had to submit art that portrayed manufacturing specific to their areas. The art could use paints, pencils, markers, crayons and charcoals.

In addition to being honored at a luncheon April 16, Nabila received a certificate from the governor and a $500 check.

Montclair fourth-graders visit Emory

Two fourth-grade classes from Brookhaven’s Montclair Elementary School recently visited the Michael C. Carlos Museum on the campus of Emory University.

Through a Partners in Education collaboration with the Emory University Partnership Advisory Council (EUPAC) that started four years ago in the school’s Spanish department, the fourth-graders had the opportunity to learn about South American civilizations.

Montclair Assistant Principal Elaine Ferguson and Judie Green, the senior manager of school programs at the Carlos Museum, organized the field trip. Emory students served as guides to the Maya and Inca collections and assisted with the workshops.

Montclair Elementary has a large percentage of Hispanic students among its multicultural population of 730 students.

At the museum, the students were introduced to the region and people of the Andes Mountains, Nicaragua, Guatemala and Mexico, then were encouraged to stamp their hands, arms and faces with images of animals and jewelry from the artifacts.

Students also observed ancient metalwork and discussed how various cultures shared their environments with animals. With assistance, students designed their own medallions of foil and yarn to create necklaces.

During the second portion of the tour, students participated in a workshop called “Threads of Life,” with a slide presentation detailing the textile arts of the ancient Andean people. The discussion included geographical references and the natural resources used by the Andean culture.

Students also made quipu — an ancient knotted piece, also called talking knots, used by the Incas to store information.

Holocaust Commission honors Marist history teacher

The Georgia Commission on the Holocaust has named Marist School history teacher Brendan Murphy its 2009 Distinguished Educator of the Year.

Murphy received the award April 24 at the state Capitol during the state’s annual Days of Remembrance of the Victims of the Holocaust observance. In addition to a plaque, the recognition comes with a $1,000 prize.

The award recognizes a teacher who demonstrates excellence and creativity in the development and presentation of lessons about the Holocaust, character education or diversity.

Murphy teaches a course called “History and the Holocaust,” which not only traces the rise of Hitler and the fate of the Jews, but also analyzes the legacy of the Holocaust in light of other 20th-century incidents of genocide.

Epstein book becomes a part of history

The USC Shoah Foundation Institute for Visual History and Education is archiving “Go Where Your Eyes Take You: Creating a New Future After the Holocaust,” a hardbound book published by middle-schoolers at The Epstein School in Sandy Springs.

The book features stories written by seventh- and eighth-graders about 23 survivors of the Holocaust and how they rebuilt their lives. Epstein parent Meryl Stein wrote to the University of Southern California’s Shoah Foundation about the book, and the foundation asked for a copy to preserve the survivors’ stories.

“We are moved and deeply honored that this book and the survivors’ stories will forever become a part of our global Jewish history,” said Myrna Rubel, the principal of the Epstein Middle School.

Five of the 23 survivors featured in the book — Andre Kessler, Sam Silbiger, Regine Rosenfelder, Tom Reed and Ben Walker — spoke at Epstein’s schoolwide commemoration of Holocaust Remembrance Day, known in Hebrew as Yom HaShoah, in late April.