Baldwin third-graders stitch quilt for South African children
Third-graders in Kathy Bourgeois’ class at Baldwin Elementary School Intermediate Center are sending a handcrafted Christmas gift to their peers in Riviersonderend, South Africa.
The gift is a quilt the students stitched together after learning how to sew straight lines. Bourgeois said the project grew from a number of different threads, including the class’ theme for the year of quilting, the interests of a class member’s family and an available large cache of quilting material.
“My grandmother was a master quilter,” Bourgeois said. “When she died, she left behind at least three file cabinets filled with material. We took some of that for this project.”
The idea to make the quilt came through a conversation Bourgeois had with third-grader India Alstrin’s grandmother, Robin Goff, who travels often to the farming community in the African nation to help AIDS orphans and their caretaker grandmothers.
The third-graders first learned to sew with needle and thread, crafting Halloween bags, Bourgeois said. They then worked on the quilt through November.
The students studied a number of math concepts while working on the project, including how to figure the area and parameter of a rectangle by counting squares, and concepts of pattern, Bourgeois said.
Gabrielle Huntoon and Astrin were two of the students who gave up recess time to make the quilt.
“I did it because my grandmother always sews, and I got really interested when we started,” Huntoon said. “I hope they like it.”
Astrin said she wanted the quilt to be more than a decorative item.
“I’m hoping they use it,” she said. “Maybe they’ll sit on it when they’re reading.”
The students are also writing letters to send with the quilt. In hers, Joslynn Higgins is including instructions.
“Take turns. And stay warm,” she wrote.