At Mary T. Murphy Elementary School, kids are donning super hero capes dreaming up ways they can help change the world.
"Change the World" is the theme for the school year and adopts the premise of a children's book, "Change the World Before Bedtime" (Schiffer Publishing) penned by local authors Mark Kimball Moulton, Josh Chalmers and Karen Good.
The inspirational early readers book shows how any child can change the world with simple acts - a smile, kind word or simple deed – that will have immediate impact in a child's world. The book also explains how those acts can begin a ripple effect to help change the world for the better. It also shares the ideas of healthy eating, recycling and conservation, aiding the sick and those in need, and working as a group to bring about big changes.
On Monday, Oct. 2, Chalmers visited with Murphy School's K-4 student body in assemblies where he and the kids discussed acting on dreams, at any age, to help make the world a better place.
"It felt like a great conversation with dreamers," said Chalmers, adding he was impressed by the thoughtful questions and enthusiasm of the Murphy students.
Murphy Principal Robin Goeler was also delighted with the questions and feedback students had for Chalmers.
"What I was struck by most were the questions that were being asked," said Goeler. "The questions were really good. You could see they're thinking about, 'Wow, if I wanted to do something like this, what would I do?' I think that was really cool."
Chalmers is also Chief Excecutive Officer of Madison's Earth2 company, which designs and develops socially responsible projects, based on the Change the World Before Bedtime mission.
"One of the things we do a lot is talk to adults about not forgetting that dream they might have put on the back burner, because that's going to fuel other opportunities and make other things in your life more positive," said Chalmers, who brought along a just one such inspired adult, Lauren Carderelli, to interact with Murphy students.
Carderelli, a Madison resident, is a Certified Personal Trainer and Group Fitness Instructor. On Oct. 2, Murphy students followed Carderelli's lead during a group fitness activity designed to jump-start their dreams to change the world.
"We're focusing on strength and health and how that really can boost them out in the real world, to help them make their dreams come true; because they have to be healthy and strong to get going," said Carderelli.
Murphy students also made their own super hero capes during an activity period with staff on Oct. 2. The students will march through the school in their capes later this month. In addition to the Oct. 2 kick-off event, other milestone activities and events are planned for December and the spring. All year long, the message of changing the world, in ways big and small, will be reinforced in classrooms and in the school community, said Goeler.
"In classrooms we're using it as a backdrop for a lot of the discussions and activities that they do, just to reinforce the whole community spirit, the mindfulness, and just being kind to your neighbors," said Goeler.
Teachers began the school year by reading "Change the World Before Bedtime" to their students. They've been discussing ways kids might begin to address dreaming up and implementing changes, in ways big and small, to better their world.
"We're trying to continue to find different ways of bringing that to real life for the kids. I see teachers talking to kids about their dreams, their passions and just being good, wholesome people," said Goeler. "The teachers are building communities in their classrooms. You can see the connections from start to finish."