Student teams worked tirelessly throughout this past season to enhance the outdoor “classrooms” by landscaping an edible forest arboretum with native plantings, wetland habitats, raised organic vegetable and pollinator gardens, and a winter greenhouse with culinary herbal beds.
Growing our Garden - Growing Ourselves
A two-year implementation grant from the USDA helped the school pilot a Living Laboratory on our new 10-acre campus. It enabled us to expand our Learning Gardens and equip a Community Teaching Kitchen for hosting community workshops. The USDA grant aligns perfectly with Nightingale’s widening focus on the Edible Schoolyard experience. The purpose of the grant is to bring more locally sourced foods into school cafeterias – particularly in urban food deserts – and to integrate agriculture and nutrition education into the standard curriculum.
PEACE COMES FROM THE SOIL: To create a nurturing and healthy learning environment at Nightingale, we seek to engender the values of collaborative, hands-on learning, purpose-driven inquiry, and the steadfast work of peace in our community and in our world. As Maria Montessori said, “peace is the work of education.” Here at Nightingale Montessori, new seeds are being planted on our own grounds that will enable us to grow this fertile dream into a new and ever more fruitful reality.
As we cultivate the land, restore the “enchanted forest” habitat with native species, plant kitchen herb beds, rain gardens, pollinator and medicinal plots, as we reap fruits, nuts, berries and mushrooms, we also learn the arts of restorative justice, the skills of resilience and adaptation, and the knowledge it takes to prosper in these challenging times. As we learn to take care of the Earth, we learn to take care of each other, thriving as cooperative community.
What do children and teachers gain from a permaculturally-designed school?
The principles of permaculture are emblematic of the core values of this school:
WHAT IS PERMACULTURE? Permaculture is the art and science of designing the place of human beings in the natural ecosystem. It teaches us to understand and mirror in our own actions the patterns found in healthy natural environments. When correctly designed, such a system will “naturally” become more diverse, self-sustaining, and climate resilient.