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The rainforest. It's dark and it's hot. It covers less than two percent of the earth's area, yet it is home to more than fifty percent of the earth's plant and animal species. It is beautiful, it is diverse, and it is threatened.

Project Rainforest is an engaging assembly program offered by Mind Your Planet, available for students in kindergarten through eighth grade. The approximately 45 minute-long assembly features a short video from Mind Your Planet founder, Bruce Segal, featuring images of the wildlife he encountered during his eight trips to the rainforest of Central America.

The hot, moist climate of the rainforest, as well as the plentiful vegetation it provides, allows for thousands of insects, amphibians and reptiles, birds, and mammals to survive and thrive in the rainforest. Project Rainforest gives students a glimpse into the incredible variety of the rainforest's inhabitants, including the people who live in the area.

The rainforest's inhabitants -- both past and present -- are a fascination to the rest the world, with archeologists routinely making journeys there to find lost cities or to better understand the treasures from days gone by. They're particularly interested in the legendary White City of Honduras, also known as the Lost City of the Monkey God, which is said to have been made entirely out of white stone. The city was mentioned in a 1526 letter to the spanish emperor and was rumored to contain more riches than all of Mexico, according to a 2013 story published by the New Yorker. Interest in finding the lost city ramped up in the 1930s with a number of expeditions. Every once in a while, someone claims to find it, though some deny its existence, stating that limestone cliffs are what people see and believe to be buildings of white stone.

In addition to a diverse wildlife population, the rainforest is also the bearer of a number of common products, including chocolate, chewing gum, tea, and rubber. The assembly will use student volunteers to show how these products are harvested.

While agriculture in the rainforest provides everyday goods, and a large portion of the wood used in the world as well as the paper products made from wood originates in the rainforest, agriculture and logging contribute to deforestation -- one of the largest threats that the rainforest faces. According to National Geographic, the continued rate of deforestation could cause all of the world's rainforests to completely vanish within one hundred years.

While climate change impacts the health of rainforests, deforestation not only destroys the habitat of the wildlife that lives within the rainforest, but contributes to climate change as well, due to greenhouse gasses from downed trees escaping into the air as well as from the loss of canopy that holds moisture in the soil and prevents extreme temperature fluctuations.

A healthy rainforest, however, can absorb harmful greenhouse gasses from the air, which slows global warming. After attending the Project Rainforest assembly, students will not only have a greater appreciation for the beauty and the diversity of the rainforest, but also for its importance to the earth's survival as a whole. Students will learn to identify ways that the rainforests can still be relied on for the products they produce, without the habitat being destroyed. They will also learn ways that they can personally support the protection of the rainforests through conservation and other measures and also about political calls for action.

Project Rainforest is available to groups of up to 300 students at a time. Schools wishing to have the program shown to more than one group of students in the same half-day are eligible for a discount. For more information about this or the other K-8 assembly programs that Mind Your Planet offers, or to schedule your assembly, contact us.

MYP climate change blog image

According to Scientific American, “deforestation in tropical rainforests adds more carbon dioxide to the atmosphere than the sum total of cars and trucks on the world’s roads.”  Specifically:

“The reason that logging is so bad for the climate is that when trees are felled they release the carbon they are storing into the atmosphere, where it mingles with greenhouse gases from other sources and contributes to global warming accordingly. The upshot is that we should be doing as much to prevent deforestation as we are to increase fuel efficiency and reduce automobile usage.”

Are children learning about the causes of climate change in the classroom?

This would come as a surprise to many of America’s science teachers, 30% of whom are still telling their students that climate change is the result of “natural causes.”  An equal number are teaching that the case for climate change being man-made is “unsettled science.”  Among those who do spend time discussing the scientific case for climate change, on average they devote an hour or less to the subject.  That’s not surprising, considering the vast amount of curricular material K-8 teachers are required to cover in a given calendar year.  The bottom line, however, is that America’s children do not acquire even rudimentary knowledge about climate change and its causes in the classroom.

Are parents picking up the slack?

A recent Monmouth University poll found that most Americans’ understanding of climate change and its causes is woefully deficient.  Fewer than 30% of survey respondents agreed that climate change is due principally to human activity.  Most parents simply don’t have the time to read scientific journals, receiving what little information they have on media reports and politicians whose views on the subject tend to be partisan rather than objective.  In addition, parents assume that students get the information they need in the classroom.

What can K-8 schools do?

Fortunately, there’s a solution.  For more than a quarter century, Mind Your Planet has provided K-8 schools throughout the mid-Atlantic region with solidly educational assembly programs which address important cultural and scientific issues like multiculturalism, diversity, and endangered species.  Our presenters have both the knowledge and skill to provide this important information in an entertaining format, utilizing multi-media tools and audience participation.  The result:  students leave both better informed and inspired to learn even more. Among our more popular presentations is one which teaches children about climate change, among other important issues:  Project Rainforest.

Inspiring the imagination

When it comes to teaching children, the rule of thumb is that you have to grab their attention and capture their imagination.  In all of our presentations, we utilize tools like video, storytelling and audience participation to do just that.  Project Rainforest, for example, includes a seven-minute video that demonstrates the interconnection between these forests and their indigenous animals, and lets children see first-hand the impact of deforestation.

Students who participate in this assembly leave with an increased understanding of and appreciation for not only the relationship between deforestation and climate change, but also the diversity of life in this delicate ecosystem, the many products which come from the rainforest for human use, and its stunning beauty.

Opportunities for continued learning in the classroom

Project Rainforest inspires children to learn more after they leave the presentation, providing teachers the opportunity to develop innovative lesson plans which extend and deepen their understanding.  For example, teachers can ask students to write essays on their experience, engage in special projects, and create oral presentations in which they share the results of individual research.

To learn more about Mind Your Planet, or to schedule a presentation for your school, please contact us today. 

MYP blog image NJ culture

Giving kids an understanding of their culture and heritage offers numerous benefits on both a personal and community level. This type of education easily available through cultural diversity school assembly programs that can reach a significant number of children in a short period of time. 

Here are five great reasons for New Jersey's children to become educated on the cultures that make up this great state

Develop Community Pride

In order to inspire kids to take pride in their communities, they first need a basic understanding of how that community was formed and which cultures and traditions are important to that community. 

When kids are taught about heritage and culture, they begin to see those things in their everyday lives. They notice the way their community responds to certain needs and promotes a love of cultural activities and ideas. 

This leads to a sense of belonging and understanding that can inspire them to make their own neighborhoods and towns better places to live. Your child may be the one who finds a way to solve a community problem or provide a needed service to friends, family and neighbors. 

Develop Identity and Self-Confidence

When children understand the basics of their own culture and heritage, they are able to identify with a particular group. This sense of belonging is important for kids to develop healthy feelings about their own culture. 

Children who are educated about their heritage can be proud of where they come from and are less likely to experience self-esteem issues related to skin color, background and culture. 

Respect Other Cultures

Just as kids can discover an appreciation for their own culture, education also helps them to respect people from other cultures. 

Knowledge is what makes fear of the unknown dissolve. When kids grow up understanding why other people have certain beliefs, behaviors and traditions they are able to navigate differences without fear. 

Once a child has learned to respect one other culture, it's easier to have respect for all cultures. 

An Understanding of Origin

It can be hard for children to grasp the concept that every person came from somewhere. Kids know they are the product of their parents, but they don't always understand how culture and heritage formed who their parents are as people, and in turn who they are. 

When children are taught to look for the meaning behind cultural practices, they can begin to see how those attitudes toward life have been combined to form the person that they are. They can then transfer that knowledge to an understanding that every other person is also a product of heritage and culture. 

Spark an Interest

Childhood is a time of gathering information. It also a time when sparks of passion are ignited that can follow kids for the rest of their lives. 

When kids become educated about cultural practices and what it means to be the product of a particular heritage, they also discover new and exciting subjects, areas of study and activities. 

You never know where your child is going to find inspiration that will lead to a career choice or even a lifestyle. The more your child knows about what different people do and they way they approach life, the more possibility is introduced into that child's world. 

Culture and heritage are important parts of who we are as individuals and as part of a community. It's vital that children learn these things about themselves and each other so that they can feel good about who they are and participate in the world in a way that promotes positive change and peaceful interaction among people.

For more information on school assemblies featuring community diversity in New Jersey, contact Mind Your Planet

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The month of December, with all its varied holidays, can be an incredibly difficult time for students who follow different religious or cultural traditions than others in their school. Young children may struggle to understand why that child's family is so "different," while older children will wrestle with the implications of the cultural differences and may experience bullying as a result. When you have a diverse student body, one of the first steps to avoiding issues is developing and enhancing understanding.

December's Holidays: A Great Point for Springing Off

December is filled with a rich array of diverse holidays that reflect a variety of cultures. Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, and Rahmadan all occur in the latter days of December. They encourage a similar celebration of family, religion, and culture, but they are celebrated very differently. As the new year arrives, it is celebrated very differently in China, Vietnam, Korea, and Japan than it is in America. 

The children throughout your school may never have the opportunity to celebrate these holidays with people who are part of that culture, but they can expand their cultural awareness and learn more about the diversity that fills our world. The holidays, with their recognizable traditions and familiar, comforting associations, are an excellent way to begin conversations that can span the rest of the school year. Kids have an amazing ability to understand what is different, especially once it's explained to them. This understanding leads to tolerance and compassion in the face of diversity throughout your student body.

Expanding Students' Horizons

Many students may never be exposed to the full depth of other cultures in their own homes. Giving them access to presentations like ours gives them the opportunity to soak in, not only stories, but a full sensory experience that allows them to see, hear, and even touch artifacts of other cultures. The show engages students in a variety of ways, including:

  • Music
  • Costumes
  • Video
  • Storytelling

Through these practical methods that help every student come closer to the broad cultural offerings that are part of their world. At home, they can learn only what their parents can teach them. While they're at school, however, they have the opportunity to learn more than they ever dreamed possible.

Why a Holiday Assembly?

Bringing your students together for the holidays is part of the tradition in many schools. You want to offer them opportunities to celebrate together, whether it's in the form of a classroom party or a school-wide celebration. This time of year, the festive, giving atmosphere is more likely to breed acceptance and wonder than any other time of the year. By bringing your students together in a holiday assembly, you open the door to a variety of lesson plans about diversity throughout the school year as well as encouraging discourse about students' own cultures. The way a holiday is celebrated in one home might be vastly different from the way it's celebrated in another, but through the Diverse December Holidays presentation, students will learn more about how to accept and embrace those traditions.

By integrating these concepts into your curriculum throughout the season and for the rest of the year, you will create students who are more tolerant, understanding, and willing to embrace and explore the varied traditions of other cultures. Opening their eyes to this rich diversity is the perfect gift for your students this holiday season. If you're ready to schedule a presentation for the students in your school or have more questions about the assembly we're offering, contact us today. We'd love to bring our message of diversity and inclusion to the students in your school.

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There has never been a time in the history of our wonderful country when racial tensions were higher, intolerance more in the spotlight, and inherent privilege more examined. You cannot open a news blog, access a television newscast, or even stand in line at a store checkout without being bombarded with images, commentary, and opinions.

What do our children make of this? They also hear and see these comments and images. As adults, we can discuss with some degree of authority, and offer our opinions based on research and facts. Our children may not have the knowledge or the resources to make sense of these often confusing, and sometimes frightening, happenings, opinions, and occurrences. The world they are living in has changed from the one their parents and grandparents, and even their teachers grew up in.

Mind Your Planet has developed a school assembly program that addresses the quickly changing makeup of racial, ethnic, and cultural groups in the United States. Just fifteen years ago, the make-up was vastly different with white descendants of northern Europeans making up nearly eighty percent of the people living, working, playing, and believing in the dreams of America. Today the ratio is closer to 50/50 with people of African, Asian, and Hispanic cultures equal in number to those of northern European descent.

America was developed and built by immigrants. From the first European settlers at Jamestown to the influx of Irish immigrants during the potato famine, to today's immigration of South and Central American people looking for more opportunity for their families, each group has brought with it enormous contributions to our varied culture. People of Africa, the Middle East, Asia, and the Pacific have all added to the richness of the culture that is uniquely American. Understanding the role immigrants have played throughout our history, and continue to play in our current development as a nation, is critical. 

Children need to understand the world in which they are growing up. Celebrating America's Multicultural Heritage is a 45-minute school assembly program that gives children information about their diverse American culture, as it exists today. 

Our goals, as stated on our website, for children participating in this assembly are that they will:

• Gain an understanding of the origins and role of culture

• Experience different cultural expressions of art and music

• See how different cultures approach rites of passage, games, and sports

• Understand the concept of America as the land of immigrants

• Explore how the different cultures help shape everyday American life from the foods we eat to the languages we speak

• Learn some of the major contributions made by men and women of the various cultures

Once your school or group has reserved a performance we will send a detailed overview of the program to the teachers whose students will attend the assembly. The packet includes classroom activities to help prepare children for the presentation as well as for further discussion and understanding.

Our assembly programs, designed with best practices for child learning in mind, use a variety of techniques to captivate children's interest including, storytelling, costumes that some of the children can try on, music, riddles, puppets, and hands-on participation for a group of child volunteers. Some children will be selected to play African drums in front of their friends. A brief video presentation takes children on a visit to places where many of us, and them, or our ancestors, originated.

To learn more about our Multicultural Diversity Program and other assembly topics available contact us, today.  More than 3,000 schools since 1991, have taken advantage of our quality programs for children. A list of references is available on our website. Feel free to contact them to learn what their experience was before booking your program. We look forward to hearing from you soon.

MYP rainforests

Are you looking for a way to help students understand the importance of conserving our remaining rainforests? Have you recently completed, or are you planning a unit on ecosystems? Is there as much information as you want in the texts and supplemental materials provided? Do your students need something fun to keep them motivated to learn?  Mind Your Planet has the right program for you!

Project Rainforest 

The erosion of the world's rainforests is a complex issue and one that needs attention. Children growing up today must understand why rainforests are important to the diversity, and survival of our planet. An all-school assembly, a grade-level assembly, or a special interest assembly are a few ways to include this fantastic 45-minute presentation in your school's or classroom's curriculum.  Here are a few ways the children in your group will benefit from our Project Rainforest assembly. 

• We describe the natural rainforest ecosystem and give illustrations of what this looks like throughout the presentation. Plants, insects, animals, and people are all part of this diverse habitat. When one species is out-of-balance, the others suffer. A seven-minute video shows animals that depend on the rainforest for survival and loggers clear-cutting a rainforest in Central America. Children see the impact of deforestation on the various plant and animal species.

• A focus on the appreciation for the beauty and diversity of life in the rainforests helps children appreciate the aesthetic value of this wonderland. The scope of diversity in this almost magical place is staggering. Discoveries of never-before-seen species of insects, plants, animals, and fungi regularly occur with far-reaching effects for medicine and life improvement. These discoveries are even more vital than preserving the beauty.  

• We feature everyday products that come from the rainforest such as chocolate, rubber, tea, and chewing gum. Easily expand these topics in the classroom after the program is over. Children extend their learning when researching these everyday items and exploring subjects like, how far these products travel from their origin, harvesting techniques, the impact on the environment from harvesting, and determining how to improve stewardship of the rainforests. 

• We address climate change and global warming, a major concern for our earth today. Climate change is significantly affected by the condition and the prevalence of rainforests which act as a filter for our atmosphere. Children learn more about the effects of global warming when the rainforests silently disappear, and why it is so critical to reverse this trend. 

• We discuss ways to use rainforest products without destroying habitats and environments. Children learn about "green living" with rainforest products and which species are in danger of extinction from over-harvesting.  

• The primary goal is an awakened sense of the importance of Rainforests in children's, and everyone's lives.  Many are moved to take steps to help save the rainforests through personal action. Again, classes and individual children seek out ways to implement this information. A classroom or school-wide project to impact the effects of deforestation, or to raise funds to help struggling families living in deplorable poverty in the rainforests, or other actions, such a political action, often follows. 

We keep all of our program costs reasonable so we can reach as many children with this important message as possible.

Project Rainforest is suitable for kids from kindergarten through eighth grades. The video, discussion, hands-on learning, and storytelling are some of the presentation methods used. Individual classrooms, all-school assemblies, Boy Scout and Girl Scout troops, home-schooling groups, summer camps and community children's programs are all welcomed to contact us for more information about reserving a presentation for your group. 

Only skilled actors and educators are employed for our presentations, to make sure the entire performance holds children's interest, while they learn and enjoy.  

Additional programs are available. For enthusiastic references and testimonials from teachers around the United States and a list of our programs, visit our website, Mind Your Planet.

→See Available Programs←

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December is a month of magic for children in the United States and around the world.  Flying reindeer, magically appearing gifts delivered by a never-to-be-seen giant elf, colored lights everywhere, lighted candles, sugary treats, feasting, unique and significant decorations, and maybe even an epic snowfall mark the wonder of winter holidays.  

Seven candles, the story of an oil lamp that never burned down, and gift-giving for seven days mark a celebration participated in by many Americans. The yearly tradition of Hanukkah memorializes the Israelite's deliverance during the Maccabaean revolt.  

Other American children participate in Kwanzaa, a holiday following Christmas and preceding the New Year. Kwanza celebrates the culture and the heritage of black Americans of African descent. The colors of Kwanzaa, black, red, and green represent the people, the struggle, and their promising future.     

Ramadan, the ninth month of the Muslim year, features daily fasting, nightly feasting, prayers and thanksgiving, and finally, gifts for children when the month ends.  Ramadan does not usually coincide with western winter celebrations as it is more likely to fall in the summer or autumn months. For some American children, this is the holiday that is the peak of a year of celebrations and joy in life.

Christmas for many American children, revolves around the stories of the birth of child sent to this planet to show us the way. Many traditions and symbols have evolved to represent this event, often tied to different ethnic cultures within the bigger culture. Christmas trees, Las Posadas, special breads, and other individual Christmas traditions show up in December in all parts of the United States. 

Around the world, customs are different, but the magic remains with the coming of winter. Our Educational Assembly Programs will share these many traditions and experiences with children from Kindergarten through eighth grades in your schools, children's clubs, home school groups and churches, synagogues and temples. This presentation would also be a great parent-child program for a PTA meeting or parent assembly program. 

All of our educational assembly programs seek to provide an understanding of tolerance and promote esteem for all cultures and species living on our diverse planet. 

These are the Highlighted Holidays:

Christmas: The Christian celebration of the birth of Jesus

Hanukkah: The Jewish festival of freedom and deliverance

Kwanzaa: The African-American celebration of unity and self-determination

Ramadan: The Islamic observance of devotion to God

Happy New Year: New Years' celebrations of Vietnam, Korea, Japan, & China 


What to Expect

Three lucky kids, chosen from among the attendees will help with the presentation by dressing in authentic native costumes of Mexico, Sweden, and Germany. Another student will demonstrate the musical instruments of Kwanzaa. Participation in the performance helps student relate to the cultures highlighted with more empathy and understanding. Whether a child is chosen to participate or not, even seeing a friend in the role will increase other students involvement with the program.  

The variety of teaching techniques used during the forty-five-minute presentation includes story-telling, a short video, hands-on artifacts children can touch and examine, costuming, and music.

Highlight a study on world holidays, world religions, cultural diversity, or include the program as part of larger winter holiday festivities and fun. 

Classes at public or private schools, entire school assemblies in smaller schools, church groups, girl scout and boy scout troops, or other civic or community organizations use this informative and entertaining program as part of the diversity teaching for their groups. 

Contact us, or visit our website for more information about our cultural diversity assemblies as well as pricing and scheduling information. Plan ahead for your winter holiday program now. Our presenter's schedules fill quickly for this assembly program.  

→See Available Programs←

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Where Have All the Animals Gone?

What teacher or parent doesn't dread questions like these-- "Mrs. B where are the animals that used to be here? Why are they not here? Why do people let them die?"

The truth is animals disappear at an alarming rate.  According to experts, one species disappears from our lives, and from our earth, every twenty minutes.  As evidenced by the fossil record, the normal rate of extinction is one species every one-hundred years. This accelerated extinction rate is a disaster that must be stopped or at least slowed. Teaching children about Endangered Animals through our assembly program will help them to understand that we all must work together to solve this problem.  

Children deserve to know what is happening in their world. Only when they know and understand the scope of the problem will our future adults be able to handle the problem constructively. 

Mind Your Planet's forty-five-minute assembly program will leave children with a basic understanding of which species are facing extinction today and some of the many complex reasons why.  Designed for children from kindergarten through eighth grade all of Mind Your Planet's programs hold children's attention and spark their curiosity. Our Endangered Animals assembly involves children in the presentation using a variety of teaching methods including a short video presentation, costumed child actors, professional adult actors, stories and interactive activities.

The Endangered Species assembly program is the perfect enrichment for many school topics such as:

  • A science unit about ecosystems
  • A social studies unit on how logging and farming affect communities and animals
  • A geography unit on how the earth changes
  • A kick-off for a school project on wildlife preservation
  • A special interest assembly

These are just a few of the classroom topics that would coordinate well with an assembly about Endangered Animals.  

Endangered Animals assemblies are not just for schools. Other kid groups will also enjoy and benefit from the learning they gain from an informative presentation. 

  • Girl Scout troops  
  • Boy Scout troops
  • After school programs
  • Summer Camps
  • School-age summertime day care programs
  • YWCA And YMCA children's programs
  • Homeschool cooperatives

Here are a few of the benefits children gain from our Endangered Animals presentation. 

  • Children are impassioned to do something about the extinction of animals in our world. This could lead to a career in animal or environmental sciences. 
  • Kid's new awareness that a problem exists, and that humans are responsible for many cases of extinction, helps children understand that we affect our environment. This awareness is an important concept for children's growth and learning. 
  • Children have an opportunity to hear a different perspective at an  Endangered Animals presentation. They listen to their teacher every day and enjoy hearing information from someone else. 
  • Guest speakers support learning when the teacher is less knowledgeable about a particular topic. This provides children with a more extensive knowledge of the topic. 
  • Common Core science objectives include developing an understanding of the interdependence of animals with their ecosystems. This assembly helps with understanding this Core concept. 
  • STEM education is an important focus for most schools today. Our Endangered Animals presentation incorporates science and math, with the use of technology to help children understand what is happening to animals in our world. 

In addition to all of the educationally sound reasons to host an Endangered Animals assembly at your school, let's not forget about fun!  Our presenters make the hour we spend with your students an informative, exciting, and fun learning experience they will remember. To see who our presenters are, and to check out all of our available programs.  

See who our presenters are and check out all of our available educational assembly programs. You will find our fees and references listed within the site. Reserve a date today for your students to learn more about the world they live in through our Endangered Animals assembly program.  

→See Available Programs←

Video Transcription:

“I think that the presentation today was an absolutely wonderful way to portray the differences of children through their culture, clothing, food and their language. By getting them to participate directly into the program show itself it made the presentation a lot more interactive. It also made it close to home, they can make connections to it either to their own personal cultures or just getting to see other people portray their cultures. I feel like the kids had a great time with the show today they participated, they were raising their hands they were all so excited to be picked to be part of the answering and part of the show I think that they took a lot away with them from this with being able to recognize that just because we all look different and dress different doesn't mean that we're any different at all on the inside.  I would recommend Bruce in this program. I think that it would show children again the diversity and how we could all, starting at this grade group level, be able to interact with others and show our diversity and how it can bring us together instead of dividing us.”