Montessori School of Columbia Is a Green Step School

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The Montessori School of Columbia is a Green Steps School, a program jointly sponsored by Keep the Midlands Beautiful, SC DHEC, and Sonoco Recycling. As part of the Montessori philosophy, we educate our students about the earth’s resources and provide hands-on ways to experience reducing, reusing, and recycling. Here are some of our current projects with year-end reports written by the students.

Planting a Vegetable Garden

“Our preschool has created a garden. It is six boxes, each one 8’4” by 3’7”. They brought in compost for the soil. Many vegetables and plants are being grown, including tomatoes, basil, different types of lettuce, carrots, strawberries, beans, and kale. A watering system has been installed to ensure the plants are being watered regularly. It is also an educational tool for the preschoolers to learn about sustainability, compost, and where our food comes from. The students also eat the food they grow.”–Martha

Restoring a Wildlife Habitat

“In our elementary playground garden we recently placed some compost from our compost bin and planted some new plants. We planted ardisia, autumn fern, dianthus, ajuga, nandina, cleyera, black-eyed susans, rosemary, iris, papyrus, hellebores, mayapple, confederate jasmine, and acacia. The ardisia and nandina grow berries. That way we can have food for birds.

We also have a pond, so the birds have water. We have a frog living in our pond.

We labeled our plants by reusing used materials. The labels are made of popsicle sticks and tin lids.

We have a small little tree to shelter birds and other animals, and the cleyera also will give the animals a place to hide.”–Anya

Recycling at School

“In our classroom we recycle. Alot. We have a blue bin in our classroom and take it to the real blue bin every day at noon. We also have an office paper bin in our classroom which feeds into the office paper herbie curbie outside. Then it is taken by the truck and recycled. The office paper bin takes office paper excluding construction paper.

The blue bin in our classroom holds all of the items that can be recycled (e.g. aluminum cans, plastic and glass bottles, newspaper, cardboard, etc.).

The Montessori School of Columbia does all it can to recycle and benefit the environment. The benefits of recycling are less garbage in the landfill; it creates jobs; it saves energy, and it doesn’t use as many of our natural resources.” –Elliot

Efforts to Clean and Restore Water

“The first thing we did was to raise money for Amman Imman, which is an organization that digs wells for poor people in Africa who are dying of thirst. We raised more than $420 for Amman Imman.

The Upper Elementary Class also went to Columbia’s Waste Water Treatment Plant and learned about the cleaning of water. The plants use bacteria to eat the waste. We also learned that oil and grease in drains can clog the pipes and cause an overflow in your house, in someone else’s house, or in rivers.

Our class is working with Keep the Midlands Beautiful to clean up the Congaree. We are going to walk along the side of the river with the Congaree riverkeeper on May 24. The riverkeeper will tell us about the Congaree and about his job.”—A.J.

Restoring the Soil by Composting

“Everyday students put the fruits and vegetables they don’t finish one of our two compost bins. We also add leaves. Every week we stir the bins so that they get oxygen. Sometimes our teacher brings in coffee grinds, which helps the compost decompose.

This year we emptied one of the bins into the garden on our playground.”–Xander

Reusing Materials in the Classroom

“For our play we used cardboard boxes for props. We also used broomsticks for horses.

If you use a piece of paper and it still has some blank space, we put it in our scrap paper basket so that when other people need to write down something, they can just take a bit of scrap paper.

This week we are making Archimedes screws. For the base we are reusing empty plastic bottles.

Sometimes the printer messes up something. We cut the messed up papers into strips and use them for sentence analysis.”–Milo

Plants in the Classrooms to Restore the Air

“We water our plants in the classroom almost every day at clean-up and then leave them outside to get sun until we come in after lunch. We recently mixed some of our worm compost into the plants’ soil. We also are going to use the individual coffee containers to propagate plants that can be used in our classrooms and to give away.”—Elle