Arts & Culture Maplewood Schools / Kids South Orange

Marshall School Focuses on STEAM — and Kindness — With Wood Mural Project


The entire Marshall Elementary School community, in collaboration with Maplewoodshop, recently participated in a STEAM [Science Technology Engineering Arts Math] wood mural making project. Each student helped create and decorate a square with string, paint and/or nails. The students were able to learn math, science, and design by working with their own hands. The children were taught how to safely use woodworking tools — sandpaper, hammers and nails — and learned how woodworking can apply to real-world problems. The squares were then joined together to create this incredible piece of art (measuring 17′ wide!) that was hung in the entrance vestibule at Marshall.

The mural quote from Dr. Wayne. W. Dyer — and featured in the movie Wonder — reads: “When given the choice between being right and being kind, always choose kind.”

The project taught our students about collaboration and teamwork and showed them how working together as diverse individuals can lead to a strong community outcome. Since the mural is hung in Marshall’s entrance, it is a daily reminder to the students and school community about how a diverse group can work together to create great things and how it is always important to choose to be KIND no matter what the day brings.

We came up with this idea with Mike Schloff from Maplewoodshop who worked with us to teach the children safe woodworking skills while building the mural. The project could not have been done without the many parent volunteers who helped coordinate this project and the teachers, staff and administration for helping to make this happen.

The new mural was revealed to the entire community on diversity day at Marshall School.

Cathy Sharick is a Marshall School parent, journalist and former managing editor of, TIME magazine’s website. 

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