Invest in Our Planet
At Green Meadow Waldorf School, students #InvestInOurPlanet from their earliest years all the way through high school, in a wide variety of ways. Faculty, staff, and parents also take environmental initiatives seriously and support our students to consider the impact of their decisions on the planet and learn to live sustainably.
In Early Childhood, all our classes are primarily outdoor, nature-based groups who engage in forest exploration, gardening, animal care, and farm work. Everywhere they go on our 11-acre campus, children in Green Meadow’s preschool programs are welcomed into learning environments that nourish their senses and allow them plenty of time to be in nature. This builds a lifelong connection to the Earth, develops observation skills that serve children in formal science classes later in their education, and forms the foundation for a desire to be a responsible steward of the environment.
In the Lower School and Middle School, students are immersed in botany, chemistry, geology, physics, and other scientific disciplines, as well as geography, in which students learn to map the surface of the earth. In third grade, two important explorations connect students deeply to many facets of human interaction with the land: our farming curriculum spans the entire year and ends with a week-long trip to Hawthorne Valley Farm, and the 3- to 4-week shelters main lesson block allows students to see how humans throughout history have used available natural materials to construct their homes. The shelters block culminates with each student building a model structure that they present to their class, before it is displayed for the rest of the school to admire.
Also beginning in 3rd grade, each class enjoys an overnight trip each year. These curricular trips expose children to new physical and social environments and teach them new stewardship skills. After the 3rd grade farm trip, students in subsequent years go on camping trips, where they canoe, hike, raft, stargaze, and use survival skills. They might have the opportunity to observe and draw the Hudson River in a study of local geography or learn about local geology at nearby Harriman State Park or North-South Lake in the Catskill Mountains, bringing their learning to life and connecting them more deeply to the land they inhabit.
In our High School, students engage in Earth Science and Environmental Sciences and have participated in #FridaysforFuture and other local and global environmental initiatives. A capstone of the Green Meadow high school experience is a week-long senior trip to Hermit Island in Maine, where students study marine biology. Our unique Senior Project program, in which students independently study a subject of their choosing for six months to a year and then present on it in the Spring of senior year, has often been a way for students to engage in initiatives with ecological impact, whether by building a tiny house, studying veterinary medicine, or learning ice climbing or scuba diving.
As a school, our commitment to environmental sustainability includes:
A commitment to low-waste snacks and lunches, as we encourage reusable bags and lunch containers, as well as refillable water bottles
Schoolwide recycling and composting, carried out entirely by students
An Arts Building that meets many LEED standards for healthy, efficient, carbon- and cost-saving green buildings
Ecological landscaping on campus
Outdoor classrooms (including one built by our high school students!)
No-idle zones in our parking lots
Encouraging walking and biking to school, which is possible for the many families who live locally.
Stay tuned for news and photos of student activities this Earth Day: April 22, 2022.