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In Manhattan, New York: Discovering the Library Next Door

Despite the engaging programs that public libraries offer, these repositories of knowledge are often underappreciated and underused. One school in New York has found a way to get students more involved in their local library by implementing the Mutt-i-grees® Curriculum into their activities.

Books and So Much More at Your Neighborhood Library

Students at Dr. Sun Yat Sen M.S. 131, in Manhattan’s Chinatown neighborhood, recently took a field trip to nearby Chatham Square Library to participate in Mutt-i-grees® activities and hear about service-learning opportunities they could get involved in.

Accompanied by their teacher, Careen Halton, the 13- and 14-year olds were greeted by the library’s enthusiastic staff as well as by two human members of the Mutt-i-grees Team — and one darling puppy. The three had traveled from Long Island to help introduce the kids — some of whom had never before stepped into their local library — to both the Curriculum and the fun and unexpected treasures you can find at your local library.

The Mutt-i-grees Team began by talking about the Curriculum and how social-emotional learning concepts like empathy and decision-making can help both them and homeless pets. Naturally the kids were excited to meet the puppy. But they were also intrigued by the idea that they could support their community by helping homeless animals.

After brainstorming ways for the kids to advocate for shelter rescue and adoption, the group decided to make posters for some of the available animals at Animal League America. The kids had a blast writing and designing profiles for various pets. Having the entire class together gave students a safe, creative environment in which everyone felt comfortable bouncing ideas off each other and working as a team.

If you’re looking for a field trip destination, why not look in your own backyard? Your local library provides a quiet, welcoming space where children can develop their creativity and appreciation for reading, writing, and community engagement. An integral part of the Mutt-i-grees Curriculum is helping kids find a sense of community, and by linking classroom learning with the local library, students often become motivated to engage in service-learning activities. 

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