By Shea Morris
For over 12 years the Village School kindergarten has been “traveling” to China as part of our Global Studies curriculum. Our traveling doesn’t actually involve leaving Pacific Palisades, yet it does involve exploring various aspects of the Chinese culture and a study of the Giant Panda.
The students love learning about the panda. There is an instant attraction. The kindergartners learn panda facts, do panda art projects read panda books, as well as participate in a community service project related to our travels. Pandas International became the focus of our community service project as they were a USA non-profit directly supporting the efforts to protect and help Pandas.
To raise money for Pandas International, the kindergarten students and kindergarten teachers decided to have a bake sale with the profits going to Pandas International. The parents baked sweet treats and the kindergarten students sold them with the first sale raising just over $500 allowing the Village School students to adopt Tong Tong. The next year the students did the same thing and a tradition was started that still continues today. The Panda Bake Sale is held each February and all treats are now sold for $1.00. The whole school is committed to the success as they remember learning about Tong Tong when they were a kindergarten student. Most students now buy a couple treats and say, “Keep the change.”
We have been raising over $1000 the past few years because of the entire community embracing Tong Tong. Much love for Tong Tong does come from fact that many students remember my participation in Hug My Baby. Hug My Baby provided the school community with a stronger connection to Tong Tong. I was able to meet Tong Tong. I fed him and observed him in his environment for quite a long time as well as gained so much from interacting with other adopters and our tour guides who shared much about the culture with us. This year the first graders are already telling the kindergarten students about the Panda Bake Sale and upper school students have stopped by asking me if I have any new updates about Tong Tong. February will be here soon enough and I cannot wait to see how much we raise this year! Village School loves Tong Tong.