Today is my son's first day of school. He will be a student in the early childhood classroom of a Montessori magnet in the Chicago public school system. This school has a garden, albeit a few raised beds on an old asphalt basketball court. I'll take it -- any outdoor activity is a luxury in a school system imperiled by a city that pours money into TIF's instead of education. In honor of the start of his formal education, I wanted to share with you some images of the school I wish he could go to.
While in Santa Fe for my sister's wedding, I had the chance to visit the school where she works, Camino de Paz Montessori School and Farm. Here's a description from the website:
|"Camino de Paz is located on a working organic farm.|
Daily practical experiences, along with service learning,
outdoor education, arts and music provide a meaningful
context for academic studies"
Here are the greenhouses and cold frames where the students raise vegetables:
Here is a loom in the fiber arts area, where folks can spin and weave the wool raised from the farm sheep:
Just a brief visit to this beautiful and purposeful school made my heart ache for all the kids in classrooms across the country who must make do with some houseplants and a gerbil and, if they are very lucky, a raised bed or two. Who needs gym class when you spend a morning shoveling compost or pruning grape vines? How can the students at Camino de Paz not have a superior education to the children who do not have the opportunity to participate authentically in the life of a farm? As Maria Montessori wrote, "[E]ducation is a natural process carried out by the human individual, and is acquired not by listening to words, but by experiences in the environment"