Christina Akrivou is thrilled with the education her twin 5th graders Luna and Nicholas are receiving at the Graham and Parks School in Cambridge. The family is spending just one year in the United States before returning to France, but Christina says her children are lobbying their parents to stay. Christina says, “In France, everything is school is theory. The children spend a lot of time memorizing information, but not learning how to apply it to their lives. As parents, we would look for experiences outside of school to help the children connect what they learned to our lives.
It is very different here. At Graham and Parks, education includes a lot of hands on activities, including time outdoors in the CitySprouts garden. “It really makes an impact. My kids are much more aware of the consequences of their actions on the environment. For example, they talk about recycling at home and they are careful not to throw away anything that can be recycled. This type of learning is much more enjoyable and it really sticks with the children.”
“I really enjoyed volunteering with CitySprouts to help with cider pressing at Graham and Parks” says Christina. She laughs and continues, “I couldn’t believe we were going to be giving children knives to cut apples, but then I saw that learning to hold a knife and cut apple slices is a much better way to teach than watching someone else cut the apple, or just cutting them up ahead of time. Children are so used to buying food without where it comes from. Before, we would pick up a container of juice in the store and not think twice about it. Now my kids understand that there are many steps involved to get the juice to the store. They are much more connected to and more observant of the world around them.”