A group of children at an elementary school in Denver decided to decorate blankets with drawings based on Mayan hieroglyphics and donate them to a nearby nursing home.

Maria Segura, an art teacher with the Denver Center for International Studies at Barney Ford Elementary, called the project a way of "conveying our best wishes to the community."

The idea of the blankets dawned, she said, when 20 students each decorated a square of cloth with a symbol from Mayan writing.

One kid said the squares reminded him of a blanket he had at home, which sparked the whole project of having the youngsters create blankets with colorful Mayan symbols.

The students proudly show off their work together, which also gives it a social side.

The handcrafted blankets will be presented Saturday to patients at the Kindred-Malley center, which provides long-term rehabilitation therapy for mostly elderly people recovering from serious medical disorders.

"This project is part of our Global Arts course, in which students are encouraged to analyze the wonders and diversity of the world through art. By the same token, DCIS requires teachers and students to do something for the world around them," Tamera Cone, coordinator of Art and International Studies at DCIS, said.

So besides gifting the blankets, a group of students will join with patients at the center to sing a repertoire of holiday songs.

"These kids are not only learning a subject at school, but are also seeing how to use what they learn to make a difference to people in the community. They see they have what it takes to help other people, to help their communities and, someday, to help the world," said Marjorie Larner of the International Studies Schools Network, of which DCIS is a part.

For Segura, "once children discover the roots of communication, even through paintings of Mayan hieroglyphics, they also discover the happiness they can bring to others with their art." EFE