Much Learned, Nothing Wasted
Community & Environmental Awareness
At Milwaukee Montessori School our mission is to develop independent thinking students of knowledge, courage, personal integrity and compassion. Developing students' sense of community and their appreciation for the environment we live in are just two of the many educational principles we focus on in order to achieve our mission. Going outside of the classroom is a way to help students connect principles and theories with reality...
Left: Lower Elementary students observe the chickens at Growing Power farm. At Growing Power, "chickens have plenty of space, bugs to eat, fresh water, and open crates for laying eggs." Click here to learn more about their livestock practices.
Last week, our Lower Elementary classrooms took field trips to the Growing Power farm here in Milwaukee, where they learned about Growing Power's mission to "provide equal access to healthy, high-quality, safe and affordable food for people in all communities."
Students were able to see full ecosystems in action, in various forms:
- The aquaponics system showed students how fish and crops could be raised together and allow each to benefit from the other, with no waste.
- Vermicompost uses worms to break-down compost and create nutrient-rich soil for growing. LE field trip attendee, Jackson, aptly stated, "Worms help the environment because they chew up the soil and make it better so plants can grow better."
- The bees performed many jobs, such as pollinating (which improves crop production), making honey and producing the beeswax that can be used in many beauty products!
- Learn more from Growing Power's website...
The take-away factor that LE Teachers drove home was that everything in our environment is a part of a larger system and cycle, and with the right practices, nothing need be wasted. And, when Growing Power's techniques are implemented, no one need go hungry.
The meaning of the field trip wasn't lost on LE students, Jackson commented on the nothing wasted philosophy saying, "Yeah, they even caught rainwater and used it for the fish, and the water from the fish was used for tomato plants..." Lajess added excitedly, "They don't waste anything, they use it all because it is important to recycle."
LE Teacher, Mrs. Fritsche, took the lesson one step further with her classroom in a specific focus on Growing Power's "Farmer-in-Chief," Will Allen. Will Allen, founder and CEO of Growing Power Inc, is the "son of a sharecropper, former professional basketball player, ex-corporate sales leader and now farmer, has become recognized as among the preeminent thinkers of our time on agriculture and food policy." Mrs. Fritsche often talks to her students about goal setting and dreams. In this lesson, she helped students understand how Will Allen, who achieved the dream many students have of becoming a professional athlete, combined the skills of his childhood with the sense of community and teamwork gleaned in professional athletics into an amazing business. Lesson?, continue to dream big, set goals and remain open to seeing a need in your community that you can fill and then build a business upon it. Read more about Will Allen...
The Junior High is spending this week at Nature's Classroom, where they are learning to relate their "natural environment (the out-of-doors) to their human-made environment (i.e. school, home, or any other part of a student's daily existence)." The lessons they are learning are a perfect harmony of community and environmental awareness.
Left: Junior High students at Nature's Classroom, September 2011.