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MONROE, Conn. (AP) — Ellie Maynard was excited about flowers.

The 4-year-old, a student at The Goddard School in Monroe, was helping to organize seeds Tuesday morning, along with classmate Brynn Walter, 5, and teacher Bridget Douglas. The seeds would be planted in the fingers of plastic gloves — one of many environmentally-focused projects the school’s students are doing this month.

But Ellie wasn’t thinking about the larger implications of the project as she picked through seeds.

“We’re making flowers,” she announced.

Douglas reminded her that they were also planting tomatoes, squash, carrots and other foods. As teacher and students worked, Douglas talked to them about bees, and the role they play in helping plants grow. “Bees like honey,” Ellie chimed. “Honey is delicious.”

That slight non sequitur aside, projects like the glove garden help teach Goddard students — who range in age from 6 weeks to 6 years — the importance of reusing items instead of throwing them away, said Goddard School assistant director Heather White.

“All the classrooms are using recyclable materials in as many activities as they possibly can,” she said.

The emphasis on being a good steward of the environment has been going on throughout the month of April, in honor of Earth Day, which was Monday, and Arbor Day, which is Friday. Other projects have included a playhouse made of large cardboard boxes in one of the toddler rooms, a banner decorated with recyclable materials and wind chimes made from recyclable materials.

But students aren’t just playing around with would-be trash — they’re learning why it’s important to re-use stuff instead of tossing it, teachers said.

“We try to use recyclable materials all year round,” said teacher Samantha Theoret. “We’re constantly trying to make kids aware of ways to reduce, reuse and recycle. They’re really into it.”

Her fellow teacher, Holly Tutoli, agreed.

“I think they understand what they need to do as far as recycling,” she said. “They like to talk about the animals in the ocean” and how they are affected by plastic and other trash that gets into their environments.

Indeed, the message wasn’t lost on 4-year-old Juliette Catron, who worked on a banner Tuesday morning. Recycling is important, she said, “so we don’t get the Earth all sick.”

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