Why hydration matters in the classroom
Water 101: Learning and Hydration
As a parent and Montessori educator living and working in Camden, New Jersey, I am committed to nurturing children – both mind and body. In addition to having a warm, stimulating, and inspiring learning environment, I know that children also need clean and healthy air, food, and water to grow and thrive. Our neighborhood is home to a trash incinerator, sewage treatment plant, scrap metal facilities, and multiple other polluting industries, as well as a steady stream of diesel truck traffic. It is a great injustice in our society that the poor often bear a disproportionate burden for the luxuries enjoyed by the affluent.
I believe that all children deserve the opportunity to develop to their full potential, and I seek to extend that opportunity to children in the environmentally degraded and economically challenged city of Camden, NJ. So I opened a Montessori preschool in our neighborhood (which currently doesn’t have any preschools) to make high-quality Montessori education available to young children from low-income families.
Many of the factors affecting the children I teach are outside of my control, but I am grateful for the ways that I can impact the health of these vulnerable children. Clean, nourishing water is one of the gifts I can offer them while they are in my care. Our school has an Aquasana under-counter water filter, enabling me to transform the tainted tap water, which has traveled through miles of aging infrastructure, into pure and healthy water. Providing water free of contaminants is especially important in the formative period of early childhood. The development that occurs in the first six years of life has the greatest and most lasting impact on a child for the rest of his or her life; exposure to certain contaminants in early childhood can permanently impair a child’s health and cognitive potential.
Another bonus, having a water filtration system makes financial and environmental sense, especially in contrast to the use of bottled water, which perpetuates the cycles of consumption and waste disposal that plague our neighborhood and society at large.