“The land is where our roots are. Children must be taught to feel and live in harmony with the earth.”
- Dr. Maria Montessori
From Cosmic education in the Elementary to the “erdkinder” or “earth child” of Junior High, Dr. Montessori envisioned an education that demonstrated the interconnectedness and interdependence of humans among each other and with their environment. We are small yet significant parts of a vast universe. Our acts or inactions affect the whole.
One way our school puts this vision into practice is by being a certified “Green School.” Green School certification by the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy (EGLE) demonstrates the actions we take as a school to protect the environment. The certification requires us to identify the ways in which we conserve energy, reduce waste, promote sustainability, and model stewardship. For the past several years, our list of “green” activities has certified us at the highest level, “Evergreen.”
With each trip around the sun, learners at The Children’s House and Compass Junior High take part in various activities, large and small, that model eco-conscious behaviors. Over the years, we have focused on recycling, reusing, and reducing. Paper, plastic, and cardboard may be sorted for commercial recycling, or may end up as a diorama or art project. Plates, cups, cutlery, napkins and hand towels are washed and reused everyday. School forms and documents are stored and accessed digitally to reduce paper consumption. Lights turn off when not in use. We’ve hosted Wings of Wonder, built raptor boxes, learned about freshwater ecology on the Inland Seas. We’ve raised salmon and sturgeon. We’ve planted native species in the uncovered bottom lands along the Boardman River, planted trees along power line trails, and removed invasives. Students have started their own organic lettuce business, using a soil block maker for seeds to cut down on plastic. We’ve used drip irrigation on our gardens and solar energy to run the fan in the greenhouse.
Covid-19, a universal game changer, led to more single-use items, more disposables, more waste, all in the name of sanitation. It led to less connection with the organizations, projects, and group events that were mainstays in our Green School identity. Sustainability was swapped for survival. As we reemerge from the pandemic, we look forward to a Green Renaissance, a return to our roots.
The Fall Harvest Festival is a community celebration, a green celebration of local food and the harvest season. It has been three years since our last gathering. Traditionally, students work with both staff and parent volunteers to design and create a community event with delicious food and fun games, bathed in beauty and whimsy. Please join the celebration and be part of our Green Renaissance. (Be sure to bring your own place settings to make this a zero-waste event!)