Students in the fifth grade at Washington Elementary School, West Caldwell, have been working better as a team this year with new furniture donated by the Kiwanis Club of Caldwell-West Essex that promote team activities, group projects, and yes, a neater classroom.
The colorful desks, funds for which were donated by the Kiwanis of Caldwell-West Essex, are easy to move and arrange, fitting together in groups of four or five and allowing teachers and students to modify seating arrangements at a moment’s notice.
“Moving the desks around helps students by giving them different perspectives,” said fifth grade teacher Joan Jobes. “I used to move seat assignments and desks about once a month, but now I move them weekly, which gives students different perspectives and helps build more connections in their brains.”
To see their $14,000 donation in action, members of the Kiwanis Club of Caldwell-West Essex travelled to Washington Elementary on Feb. 12 to speak to the students and participate in a team-building exercise. The Kiwanis Club was treated to a simple lunch and watched a video of various classroom activities that highlights the benefits of the desks.
“We absolutely love the furniture,” added fifth grade teacher Christine Davison. “We do so many projects and tasks as teams, and the desks allow us to do them. The students are really the ones to ask, they are the real fans of the new furniture.”
Kiwanis member and former president Jo-Ann Dixon spoke to the students, noting that they all looked like they were not only learning, but also having fun.
“That’s important,” she said. “If you have fun learning, you will want to do it more.”
Along with Dixon were several other Kiwanis members who joined in the team-building exercise and classroom events such as President Barbara Peck, Pat Collura, Joy Scally and member and director of the Caldwell Public Library Claudine Pascale.
Dixon also emphasized the importance of working together, highlighting the teamwork needed in high school, college and beyond.
“You may not appreciate it now, but working together prepares you for the future,” said Dixon.