We are a Green Steps School

The Montessori School of Columbia is a Green Steps School, a program jointly sponsored by Keep the Midlands Beautiful, the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control, 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.

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Restoring Habitats

“Some students went to Lowes and they got a birdfeeder, a hummingbird feeder, mulch, and plants. We learned that birds are having a hard time finding food, so this helps them. Also bees are being threatened, so the bee population is decreasing. So the flowers that everyone planted helps them out.”—Julia

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Planting a Vegetable Garden

“The garden has green peas, yellow wax beans, kale, pumpkins, and cauliflower. We love helping the world. One problem is that the chickens like to eat the cauliflower when we let them out. But other than that we have no problems.”—Jenna

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Recycling at School

“Students collected shoes for Keep the Midlands Beautiful and learned that third world countries need more than we do.”–Sheldon

“From recycling at school, we learned that recycling is good and helps the environment.”—Max

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Efforts to Clean and Restore Water

“What we have done for a few months to protect ground water is installing a rain barrel. The way students here at our school have learned is that using rainwater is more helpful than using groundwater because we are reusing rather than taking more out of the tap.”—Joseph

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“We learned that when rain falls along the road, it collects oil, dirt, debris, and trash. The trash can make its way to our rivers, lakes, ponds, and seas.”—Ava
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Restoring the Soil by Composting

“We have three different ways that we compost. We have a plastic bin with worms in it. We rip up newspaper, grind egg shells, and put things like apple cores. The worms eat it. This is called vermiculture. We also have a compost bin that the students put scraps from their lunch, such as banana peels, into the compost bin. We put the compost into our garden and into the plants in our classroom. At the preschool, there is a chicken coop. In the lower elementary building there are two guinea pigs. We add their droppings to the compost.”—Coby

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Reusing Materials Inside and Outside the Classroom

“Students learned to reuse from this project. For example, we reused old paper, bricks, and tree trunks. We also learned to help plants that are going to be destroyed.” –Celine

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Plants in the Classrooms to Restore the Air

Every classroom has plants that students water and fertilize as part of daily jobs to help with the classroom. Upper elementary students also harvest worm castings and have a “clinic” to add vermicompost to the potted plants throughout the school.

“Students learned that plants give off oxygen that we breathe in and that vermicompost helps plants.”—Marshall

Litter Prevention

Students worked in coordination with Keep the Midlands Beautiful to be part of the organization’s spring clean up. They picked up litter along the Congaree River, and the Congaree riverkeeper gave us a lesson about the uses of the river and the Clean Water Act.

“We learned how much damage we do to the earth.”–A. J.