Part of the Kids at Play philosophy is to provide a home-like environment. Whether it’s making a space comfortable with pillows and soft lighting, or having plants in every room, we strive to make our learning space for children warm and cozy. You can read more about this philosophy here.

If you know me, I love plants. There is no such thing as “too many” when it comes to bringing home a new plant and I take pride in each one. I believe that taking care of a plant reminds us that we are a part of a world full of living mysterious things. That we are not alone, and that in order to cohabit we must take care of one another. Developing a school family was something that I was passionate about when I initially had the idea of opening Kids at Play. The role of the teacher and student wouldn’t be the standard. Instead, I strive to create a community. A place where both the student and teacher could learn from one another, and where parents felt actively involved in their child’s learning.

Shortly after opening the doors of Kids at Play, I had the idea of having a plant shelf outside of our building. A place where we could leave plants for new homes and where others could exchange for something new if they needed. So I found an old bookshelf and got to work. I had friends and family help add a pallet underneath and some paint. All I needed was to add a laminated sign and we were ready to go.

At first we had a few interactions. I left a few plants for taking and received some that needed a little extra care. It became a fun project that parents, staff, and children joined in on. Lately, the plant shelf has become so much more than it was originally intended for and I am so grateful and in awe of the community that we have. What started as plants has grown into food, household products, and toys. Parents and members of the community have dropped off canned goods, leaving them on the shelf for someone in need. The shelf stays clean and organized. Local stores take inventory that’s about to go off their shelves and donate it. We have kept the shelf by the sidewalk so that anyone passing by who may be in need of food, toys, books, toiletries, etc. has access. The shelf has been constantly growing and evolving so we’ve decided to call it our “Kindness Shelf.”

It is amazing how a small idea has turned into something much bigger. Our plant shelf was initially created to trade plants and create community. In turn, we’ve created a community who truly cares and looks after one another. As we’ve all heard the phrase before, “it takes a village.” And while this phrase is mostly used in relation to raising children, it can apply to the greater community. It’s our responsibility as humans to take care of one another. To lend a helping hand when someone is in need. And I am so happy that we have been able to be rooted in love and  contribute to our community through this small, simple, yet powerful gesture.