The most recent Gainesville, Florida project came as a precursor for ongoing programs in Hidden Oak and Prairie View schools. Sponsored by the Oak Hammock retirement community, the 8-week module brought seasoned educators into the classroom to model the strategies for students and teachers from schools throughout Gainesville.
The initiator of the Gainesville projects, Nikki Taylor, and her cohort, Taraneh Darabi, PhD, sponsored a Full-Circle Learning training for their colleagues, then worked with summer school director Joyce Daniels to spearhead the project. The module featured Unity and Kindness as the first themes. Children greeted the volunteers each week saying, “Hooray! Here come the Kindness Ladies!” Even students as young as four could soon introduce themselves as members of the human family. The facilitators integrated literature, music and other learning activities into the preschool pilot program.
Former Gainesville students in the upper grades, responding to school-wide surveys, showed that 100% could more sometimes more effectively reflect on their daily actions and learning after their first school year in the program. After experiencing the pilot program, Joyce Daniels invited the project to begin year-round at Prairie View in 2009.