From the Executive Director
As the Board and I start planning for next year, I am taking the opportunity to reflect on the question “What is Living Classroom doing … and why does it matter?” Pretty strange question to be asking myself after nearly four years, I know. However, I really like my answer!
Living Classroom is doing important work that matters now more than ever. The problem we are solving is many students are lacking an awareness and understanding of environmental issues. Living Classroom lessons and experiences increase awareness of the natural world and provide the opportunity to think about the problems we are all facing. Our lessons encourage community engagement and community science (aka citizen science). We are filling the holes in our school curriculum and providing the vital opportunity to be outside experiencing nature and working with nature.
Students are engaged in hands-on activities and actively learning about photosynthesis, ethnobotany, composting, and water conservation. They are thinking about engineering and structure when they build a bird's nest; they are doing math as they count and regroup acorn seeds. They may be discovering new foods as they sample the edible parts of a plant — their roots, stems, seeds, leaves, and flowers.
Our Program Delivery Team actively uses the 5 E’s Instruction Model to engage, explore, explain, elaborate, and evaluate, furthering their learning experiences and improving retention and learning attitudes. Living Classroom uses the garden as a tool and vehicle for learning about the natural world.
The work of Living Classroom is critical to our students’ education. Our work is vital: We engage all students in learning to love and care for our natural world.
As many of you know, school districts have limited the access to our school sites this past year in order to keep staff and students safe. I am looking forward to next year — fingers crossed — when Living Classroom can once again welcome guests to our popular Garden Tours, where you can see what we do and where we do it. Stay tuned!