The Earth Experience
The integration of ecology, outdoor experiences, and knowledge of the world into the curriculum is one of the most remarkable aspects of the Earth School’s education.
Earth Experiences (E2)
Earth Experiences are overnight camping trips, held twice yearly, and attended by all Lower and Upper Elementary level students. The location and focus of the E2’s rotate among the main ecosystems of Oregon. During certain weeks in the fall and spring, various classrooms can be observed busily preparing for trips to the Oregon or Washington coast, Mt. Hood National Forest or the high desert. These camping trips represent a key curricular Montessori approach that fulfills the work begun in the classroom.
The rich and vibrant food culture that we enjoy in Portland begins with and is sustained by attentive stewardship for the earth. At the Earth School we believe stewardship starts young, and so we’ve integrated gardening into the life of our entire school.
Students grow and eat food from indoor window boxes and from a large vegetable garden on school grounds. Each classroom has a worm compost bucket for lunch scraps, and every autumn students rake and compost all the leaves that descend upon our land.
Students learn how to prepare simple foods in class; like a salad with a vinaigrette or a chapatti made from school-grown, student-ground wheat. Garden projects like raised-bed design and construction provide students hands-on building experience, and our children often work with garden professionals.
Through their garden experiences, students learn traditional botany and are exposed to the concepts of ecology. Research studies show that a school gardening program can help students make healthier food choices, thus setting the stage for healthier adult lives. We are grateful to our donors, grantors, and supporters who assist us in this important work.