PoeTREE in the Park
April is National Poetry Month, and poetry is one of the language arts units covered in our elementary classrooms at North Shore Montessori School (NSMS).
Each year our school celebrates by creating PoeTREE in the Park for the community, hanging poems and artwork from trees in the Rowley Common. The children worked hard on their creations, which will be on display until the end of the month.
“It was so heart warming that the older children took the hands and partnered with the younger children to walk to Rowley Town Common,” said Henry, who noted that this interactive, creative all-school event that connects art and nature is a special part of spring at NSMS.
The tradition was brought to NSMS by Upper Elementary (UE) teacher Paddy Cummings.
Cummings, who taught at the River Valley Charter School in Newburyport before coming to NSMS in 2017, explained that she and another teacher collaborated on poetry lessons with their students.
“We were trained in an art program called Picture in Writing and Image Making,” said Cummings. “With our UE students, we worked with poetry lessons in the styles of cinquain, senryu, haiku, ballad, and free form poetry that accompanies art pieces.”
“When I came to NSMS I wanted to continue the tradition,” said Cummings, who consulted with her former colleague before she launched the program here. “Since 2018, I have been working with our Lower Elementary (LE) and Children’s House (CH) teachers and students on this by encouraging the connection to April as National Poetry Month.”
“Many schools across the US participate in this event, sometimes called ‘PoeTREE in the Park,’” said Cummings.
Each year Cummings makes a request to the Rowley Board of Selectmen to temporarily install the children’s work, and each year, the request has been granted—with the caveat that care is taken not to harm the trees in the process.
“PoeTREE in the Park has become one of our cherished traditions at NSMS,” said founding director and lead Children’s House teacher, Margaret Henry. “We are grateful to the town for its support in allowing us to install this poetry and art display on public land.”