South Elementary implements ‘Only One You’ project

By: 
CHRIS MCCONNELL
Outlook staff writer
All the Laurel kindergarten students at South School created rock art for the “Only One You” project last Tuesday.
All the Laurel kindergarten students at South School created rock art for the “Only One You” project last Tuesday.
Kindergartners created their own art from rocks as part of the “Only One You” project.
Kindergartners created their own art from rocks as part of the “Only One You” project.

All 144 kindergarten students at South School created rock art for the “Only One You” project last Tuesday; a school-wide project that has received national attention for its positive message and lasting impact at schools.

The project is based on and inspired by the children’s picture book “Only One You” by Linda Kranz.

The story follows a fish named Adri who travels with his family as they give him advice about life. The characters are rocks painted to look like fish and the book is full of inspirational and empowering phrases and words of wisdom that help guide Adri as he explores the world. 

Students who participate in the project create their own art from rocks which are then collected and put on display together in front of a school or are used along walkways and intended to be permanent displays symbolizing uniqueness as well as harmony and community.

Alyssa Nauman, kindergarten teacher and head of the school’s Montana Behavioral Initiative program, and the staff at South School said they wanted do the project to help inspire the kids and celebrate how each child is unique and special, like Adri.

“We wanted our students to hear these words and take them with them. One of the phrases we tried to emphasize was, ‘There’s only one you in this great big world, make it a better place.’ We wanted our students to know that they are all special and that they each bring something unique to this world. We then painted rocks to help decorate the front of our school. We had them paint something special to them that they could leave behind with the teachers when they go on their new adventure to first grade.” 

All twelve dozen kindergartners watched a video reading of the book, accompanied by music, while the teachers, staff and parents got the paint ready. Then they all got to work painting their rocks. 

The kids were into the moment and the South gymnasium was quiet as they created their masterpieces. After the rocks dried they were placed in the planters in front of the school.

Five Star Pool and Spa, along with an unnamed donor, supplied the paint, brushes and a book for each of the teachers. South School teachers and staff said, “It was a fun afternoon where all eight classrooms came together to build a sense of community.”

South School Principal Allyson Robertus said, “We appreciate the support from Five Star Pool and Spa and an anonymous donor to allow this student activity to take place to promote self-worth. We want each and every student that comes through the doors to know that they are an important part of our South school family.”

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