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Into the Woods

By April 2, 2024Elementary

Ecology Class – Building a dam in the Montessori Woods!

How can we show renewable energy in action?  Even better, how can we build something that shows how renewable energy can work?  The answer, thought Mr Juleff, was to build a dam.  After all, we had a stream, lots of rocks, logs, and mud, and a science teacher (Mrs. Dutt) happy to cooperate.  Above all, is there anything children love more than an adventure out in the woods? Over the last few weeks, Mr. Juleff has been taking students from Grades 1-5 into the woods, getting them wet and muddy, and building a dam.  Not being engineers, the initial designs were inadequate, and the dam was washed away by heavy rainfall, twice. This is fine as this was a great way to talk through the power of nature, the importance of preparation, the need to learn from mistakes, and other life lessons! The dam itself is almost finished. It just needs a few finishing touches and then we have to install the motor and see if we can produce electricity. Watch this space!

You may remember our goals for the 2023-24 School year from a previous Ecology post:

Lower and Upper Elementary Ecology Goals

To create learning experiences that allow the student to:

  • understand the interdependence between people and nature
  • have the knowledge and skills to positively communicate ideas on environmental issues to peers and family, at an appropriate level
  • develop skills to enable them to undertake simple research and auditing related to ecology

And, most importantly…

  • have a love of nature and feel comfortable in the outdoors.

Our goals are based on the Montessori philosophy. Dr. Montessori herself said, “There must be provision for the child to have contact with Nature, to understand and appreciate the order, the harmony and the beauty in Nature …. so the child may better understand and participate in the marvelous things which civilization creates .”

Modern research supports this approach and informs how we teach Ecology.  We’ll spend as much time as possible outside in the vegetable garden, in our woods, and visiting our Farm to School program partner.  Experience shows that the students love being outside and greatly benefit from it.

We follow the National Wildlife Federation Eco-schools program, focusing on Biodiversity, Climate Change, and Sustainable Food.

Please ensure your child has appropriate clothing and footwear at school for going outside in (almost) every type of weather. 

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