Fostering Environmental Awareness and Action
Green Meadow Waldorf School’s sustainability efforts aim to create an environment that is in harmony with the philosophy of Waldorf Education. We recognize a growing need to rekindle our commitment to the natural world and to take practical action toward protecting the earth and its resources.
To that end, the school is working to foster environmental awareness by taking steps to live responsibly with nature and preserve its benefits. Reverence for all the kingdoms of nature inspires care and respect, thereby cultivating responsibility in future generations.
An Ecological Education
At the heart of our curriculum is a commitment to seeing the human being in the context of the world around us. Environmental education begins in the Early Childhood program, with a cultivation of the children’s reverence for nature, nourished by outdoor play, nature walks, and natural play materials. Our Kindergartens on the Farm teach our youngest students to grow a garden and care for animals. In the third grade, the farm block (including a week-long farm trip) is an integral experience. Our high-school curriculum includes an Earth Science block, a surveying trip that teaches students to create maps of the land around them by observing and then mapping it, an ecology block, a zoology block that includes a study of the work of Rachel Carson, and a botany block. These direct experiences foster connection to the earth, leading to stewardship.
We are taking the following steps to live out our values:
- Recycling, composting, and promoting waste-free lunches as well as the use of porcelain cups and reusable or compostable eatware for meetings and events.
- Identifying “green” parent representatives in each classroom, who educate our school community to make responsible choices and encourage teachers to enrich the classroom work with ecological content.
- Helping parents to "green" students’ lunch boxes with reusable containers, cutlery, and napkins, and to bring their own reusable eatware to GMWS potlucks.
- Serving organic food in our Early Childhood classes and at most events on campus.
- Building ecological consciousness in our students, through our Neighbor to Neighbor Gardening Program, which connects them to the land on which the school stands, and allows them to work with marginalized students from a local middle school as those students grow food for their families.
- Encouraging families in our school to live close to campus in order to walk and reduce car usage.
- Hosting "green" events on campus, including a talk by farmer Joel Salatin (featured in the film Food, Inc. and hailed by The New York Times as the “high priest of the pasture”) and a screening of the film Mother Nature’s Child, which focuses on nature deficit disorder.
- Leasing our campus to The Nature Place Day Camp in the summers, ensuring that the facilities are used year-round and supporting a vital community resource that instills ecological ethics and a deep connection to nature in its campers and their families.
- Focusing on maintaining existing buildings rather than building new ones. Our recently renovated Arts Building was built with LEED standards in mind, is well-insulated with spray and foam, and features a “Wattstopper” lighting system that features timers and sensors that reduce energy usage.
For more information, contact the Go Green Committee rep, Carol Grieder (firstname.lastname@example.org).