The story A Meadow’s Tale began in the summer of 2021 with my curiosity of the wildflower varieties in the fields at Cyntheanne Park, where I frequently visit as a nearby resident.   

As a teacher at the IPS/Butler Lab School 60, I thought it would be perfect for my prekindergarten students and their families to engage in a year-long study of the meadows there. Our class then composed a story encompassing the work they had completed, called A Meadow’s Tale. 

Written and illustrated by my students, A Meadow’s Tale follows a meadow mouse named Fern in search of spring with the help of Terry the painted turtle, Lemon the rabbit, and Eloise the monarch. From the perspective of young children, the story was greatly inspired by the works of A.A. Milne and Beatrix Potter.  

When teaching, it is most encouraging to know that your excitement to learn something new is shared by the students, too. Piece by piece, students studied and built a replica of the meadows at Cyntheanne Park within their classroom. We began with perennial flowers that are seen in the school neighborhood, as well, including the Black-eyed Susan, common milkweed, and purple coneflower.  

Following the changing landscape, students then studied the late-fall meadow, which included the browning milkweed leaves and monarchs stopping to feast before traveling south for the winter. An understanding of the meadow’s bed as a warm bungalow for meadow mice was a cherished winter lesson. Much to all our dismay, the revelation that mosquitos hibernate is remembered, too. With grand anticipation of his return, the painted turtle, Terry lay buried in the pond muck throughout our long winter studies.    

group of children near trees
Students and their families met at Cyntheanne Park in mid-February to complete necessary field work. The study of the meadow in its dormant state was incredibly impactful for the students.  This experience heightened the students’ anticipation for a meadow no longer resting – a spring meadow! 

As spring approached, we studied the awakening meadow, and the composition of A Meadow’s Tale began. After a weekend in early spring, I reported back to them that Terry was seen swimming across the pond, which brought immense delight and confirmation that their studies and arrangement of A Meadow’s Tale were precise.      

With our studies of the meadows at Cyntheanne Park, we found greater understanding of the ecological benefits of the area. There was, and still is, hope that this study inspires and motivates the installation of meadows across more cities in Indiana.    

flowers and grass
flowers and grass
There is belief that incorporating the outdoors into teaching is not simply a nice addition, but rather is essential to human development and flourishing. It is our hope that this story delights the audiences at Cyntheanne Park, and if you see Terry the painted turtle, please gently guide him back to the pond for us. 
You can see the student’s original work on display at Schoolhouse 7 Café across the street from Cyntheanne Park until mid-July. Follow IPS/Butler Lab School 60 on Facebook and Instagram to learn more.