Home Staunton Montessori students design outdoor learning ‘oasis’ at Project GROWS
Health, Local, Schools

Staunton Montessori students design outdoor learning ‘oasis’ at Project GROWS

Courtesy of Project GROWS.

Montessori students have been working with the Staunton based educational nonprofit farm Project GROWS to develop an outdoor learning pond.

Two Montessori students will lead a farm tour this afternoon for their classmates and teachers to showcase the semester-long capstone project.

Staunton Montessori School and Project GROWS have partnered to offer an expanded curriculum based on garden education for students of all ages. Through the development of a community-based project, students were offered the autonomy to design and execute a permanent learning space on the farm.

After interviewing staff to better understand the needs of the farm, two Montessori students designed a water feature project to completely rebuild the current outdoor learning “Oasis” on-site.

Students also interviewed Rich Wood, the Education and Outreach Coordinator at Headwaters Soil and Water Conservation District. He answered students’ questions about tadpole habitat preferences and detailed his own experience creating water features.

Students researched best practices for increasing pond biodiversity through the planting of pollinator-friendly species and created a tadpole habitat to encourage winter hibernation. Throughout their semester on the farm, students practiced teamwork, problem-solving, and time management skills to overcome the challenges that arose during construction.

The Staunton Montessori School adolescent program serves students in grades 7-9 by providing a hands-on, project-based learning experience in a compassionate community. The program emphasizes integration and connection among academic topics, grounded in the connections found in the living systems of the world, with the goal of engendering a life-long love for, and habits of, learning.

Staunton Montessori School, in Fishersville, respects the mind, imagination and spirit of each student. Grounded in the philosophy of Maria Montessori, they create an environment where children are empowered to fulfill their academic, personal and social potential.

Project GROWS envisions a world with an equitable food system where everyone has the access and knowledge to choose, grow, and enjoy foods that support a healthy life.

Rebecca Barnabi

Rebecca Barnabi

Rebecca J. Barnabi is the national editor of Augusta Free Press. A graduate of the University of Mary Washington, she began her journalism career at The Fredericksburg Free-Lance Star. In 2013, she was awarded first place for feature writing in the Maryland, Delaware, District of Columbia Awards Program, and was honored by the Virginia School Boards Association’s 2019 Media Honor Roll Program for her coverage of Waynesboro Schools. Her background in newspapers includes writing about features, local government, education and the arts.