Anyone living in Ohio for any length of time knows that early spring is maple syrup season.

Anyone living in Ohio for any length of time knows that early spring is maple syrup season. The preschool teacher at St. Mary's School in Massillon took advantage of the season to teach her students about tapping maple trees for sap to make maple syrup.

The teacher, Valerie Haynes, was lucky to have a maple tree right on the grounds of the school and St. Mary's parish. Her class only had to walk a few yards to get to the tree. Hayne's father, Will Roth, helped the class tap the tree. Sap started dripping immediately as the preschool class and several other classes watched.  

“My father and I tapped a tree at my home and we got sap and I made a batch of maple syrup for the students to taste this morning,” Haynes said.

Making a batch of syrup isn’t as easy as it seems. Patience is the key.

“It takes 40 gallons of sap to make one gallon of syrup,” Haynes said. “Plus, the process to get the sap to syrup is rather lengthy, so I knew we couldn't do that here at the school. So, I brought the syrup I made from my tree for the students to have with their silver dollar pancakes this morning. We're having the pancakes special today just to taste the syrup.”

Haynes was also planning to use the exercise as a learning experience in the classroom. She said the class will be watching the tree to see how much sap comes out. They will be collecting and measuring it to learn about fractions and whole numbers.

“I just thought it was a unique way to bring nature into the classroom. It's also part of the Holy Cross Academy's initiative to focus on 21st-century learning with a hands-on component.”

The tree was getting tapped two times on March 30. The first was in the morning with the morning students and then again in the afternoon with the afternoon students. Haynes said the junior high school students would be assisting the afternoon class of preschool students.