Princeton Montessori commits to a focus on environmental sustainability with bold steps.
Dr. Maria Montessori emphasized the importance of humanity’s relationship with nature and educating children to be a positive force of change in the world. In the spirit of Dr. Montessori’s teachings, Michelle Morrison, Head of Princeton Montessori School (PMonts), has committed the school to an even stronger focus on environmental sustainability in the coming years.
“The Montessori philosophy encourages children to bond with the earth so that they learn to care about it, make good choices, and become advocates for environmental sustainability,” said Mrs. Morrison. “This year we appointed Gery Juleff to be our sustainability manager and Ecology Teacher. So far, he’s led us in signing a solar energy agreement, relaunching our Farm-to-School program, repairing our vegetable garden, and recommitting to composting. This is only the start. Over the next year, Gery will work with colleagues to develop a comprehensive sustainability plan for the future.”
PMonts signed a contract earlier this month for the installation of a solar array (a group of solar panels) that will enable the school to make its contribution to the fight against climate change, inspire students, and save on energy costs. Installation of the panels will take place during spring break and the solar array will be fully functioning by the end of the school year.
New Jersey is the first state in the nation to require climate change incorporation into learning standards. Though independent school curriculum is not required to adhere to these standards, they set a precedent for learning and the importance of climate-aware students and classrooms.
Once the panels are installed, the school will reduce its CO2 emissions by 3,000 metric tons over the 20 year agreement (the equivalent emissions of using 346,824 gallons of gasoline). The array should also, depending on future utility prices, save the school between $500-800,000 in electricity bills during that time and even more over the lifetime of the installation.
“It was a great learning experience,” said Juleff. “We would be delighted to help inspire other organizations in their quest for sustainability.”
In addition to the solar array project, Juleff is leading on several school-wide sustainability initiatives this year, including: relaunching the Farm to School program in partnership with Marchese Family Farms, reinvigorating our vegetable garden with the children, and starting a sustainable composting system.
As we develop these programs, there will be plenty of opportunities for volunteering.
GIVE BACK TO PMONTS
Are you thinking about solar panels for your home or business but not sure where to start? Reach out to our partner, Green Power Energy for a free quote via their website www.greenpowerenergy.com and reference Princeton Montessori School. If you do install a solar system with them, PMonts receives a referral fee which will go back into our school’s environmental program! If you want to learn more, contact PMonts Ecology teacher Gery Juleff at firstname.lastname@example.org