I didn't want to make a movie.
I didn't have a clue of how to make a movie.
But, the kids' new learning on water kept propelling us from one cool engagement to the next.
Before I knew it, they were begging me, "YOU'VE just got to do something about this, Mrs. Barnes! Think of it - this school in Nicaragua has NO water! You have to DO something!" (They truly couldn't understand how children everywhere didn't just get fresh water - like we did. It was a huge, humbling learning experience.) I seriously looked right back at them and reasoned, "Well, YOU ALL know way more people than I do. I bet YOU can do something about it."
Their first idea was to just scream it from the highest place we could. Seriously. Once they tried that a couple of times, they realized they'd need something more. There in the first scene of the completed movie though, you'll see their rendition of screaming it from the highest point we knew. (Our bridge in the garden was the highest place they could figure around our small school. I'll never look at that first scene without thinking about the power of children who stumble upon an idea and won't let it go...)
From there, it became history. I told them they really needed to let everyone know important facts and engagements we had shared about water... before asking them for money. So, they did. They tackled their plan with gusto, working for days to figure out the technology and the best ways of showcasing all our kindergarten knowledge on water. Some of the pieces they knew they wished to share:
- Creating water paintings Frank Asch-style
- Testing water in vials with other substances
- Studying globes to identify salty vs. freshwater
- Understanding how many people struggle to access clean water to meet basic needs
The children helped to plan everything for the movie itself:
Who would stand where?
What artifacts would we share?
How would we find all the buckets for the "children across the world" scene in the garden?
And they worked for days alongside our teaching assistant and early childhood intern to showcase what they knew about water... before telling the world about their plan. You see, they just happened to discover a school in Nicaragua with no water. And, although we couldn't fix the whole world, maybe we could help just one place.
They dreamed up a plan for collecting money and promised they would learn to count it all up.
They'd give people options so parents didn't feel like they just had to send it in with no work on the kids' behalf. (You know, besides digging through sofa cushions and under car seats, too.)
And they decided for sure on a plan to honor those people who chose to give - a present! After all, there's nothing like homemade cards.
Clearly, we learned as artists and scientists, readers and writers, definitely social scientists and mathematicians. As movie-makers, we hesitantly watched and worked - and then released our masterpiece into the world.
Gratefully, we cheered as the money rolled in - counting from just pennies the first day to our final amount of hundreds of dollars. How excited we were to send the money to that small village to fund their new water pipes and bring fresh water to the school. And how different our learning became - when we realized that a bunch of five- and six-year-olds could indeed change the world!