Environmental stewardship and care for our natural world is a fundamental part of a Waldorf education. At CLWS, we’ve incorporated many green activities into our curriculum, our school-wide practices, and our school community. Here are the top 18 reasons why we’re a green school:
18. Recycling: We recycle everything that the City of Minneapolis accepts, and we recycle natural resources that are used in our classrooms.
17. Green Space: Our school has greatly increased our green space to include a 5,000 square foot rain garden, an Early Childhood Outdoor Classroom which offers opportunities for play, physical development and hands-on environmental learning, and other natural play spaces in our back play yard. These areas allow students lots of green exploration throughout each school day. We have also begun re-designing our back play yard to create additional green space which will include gardens and natural play features.
16. Reducing our Carbon Footprint: Our school has pledged to reduce our collective carbon footprint. Go to the Minnesota Energy Challenge website, www.mnenergychallenge.org to join our team!
15. The Most Outdoor Time in the Twin Cities: During the school day, our students average up to 2 hours of outside play per day (for early childhood) and 1½ hours for lower grades students.
14. Conservation: Our faculty and staff actively teach and model the importance of environmental conservation through daily activities such as turning off lights, re-using wax from candles, washing and re-using plastic baggies, and more – activities that encourage students to conserve as well.
13. The CLWS Rain Garden: A 5000+ square foot rain garden was installed in 2009, providing additional green space to the school while reducing pollution and storm water runoff. The Mississippi Watershed Management Organization generously supported much of this work through grant funds.
12. Composting: We have a school-wide organics recycling program which reduces waste and encourages all students, faculty and staff to compost their waste. Children, teachers, and staff compost leftovers from snacks and lunch. Each classroom has a compost bin which is collected and then emptied regularly by our students.
11. Green Communications: We work diligently to educate our parent community about the importance of our green work at CLWS through weekly e-updates. We continue to reduce our overall printing efforts through increased e-communications.
10. Gardening Program: Gardening is integrated into the classroom curriculum. More green space is planned, and an enhanced gardening program will allow children to “work the fields” and harvest vegetables to be used for stone soup day and other classroom activities and snacks. In the fall after harvest season, the children get to experience putting the garden beds to sleep.
9. Bird Sanctuary: A CLWS 5th grade classroom received a $1,000 grant from the National Geographic Society to create a bird sanctuary on school grounds. It evolved from classroom curricula and a teachers’ interest in creating space for students to observe and appreciate native birds in our urban environment.
8. EMF Pollution Reduction Efforts: Although there is debate about the affects of electromagnetic fields (EMF) pollution (from building wiring, external power lines, Wi-Fi and cell phone antenna broadcasts), there is mounting research that indicates that EMF may have the most impact on young, growing children. As a precaution, we’ve taken some preventative measures to reduce our student’s exposure to EMF within our school building. We have removed the Wi-Fi routers from our school and provide staff and visiting parent volunteers with an ethernet cord to plug into a wall jack for internet usage. Additional preventative measures are also under consideration.
7. Green Partnerships: We are partnering with early childhood area schools to promote green efforts across school boundaries and learn from one another to expand our understanding of the best way to inspire children to be good stewards of our Earth.
6. Biking/Carpooling/Walking: We promote an active Alternative Ways to School Campaign which includes participation in Bike/Walk Week Twin Cities each year.
5. Natural materials: Our curriculum emphasizes the use of natural materials, made from wood, wool, cotton, silk, sand, beeswax, and clay to develop appreciation for natural substances through sensory experience.
4. Green Events: CLWS hosts green events and celebrations all year long. We encourage everyone to reduce his/her use of disposable materials by using reusable/compostable cups, plates, silverware, and napkins.
3. Organic: When possible, we use local and/or organic ingredients in our snack preparations at school.
2. Green Purchasing Program: We are developing a green purchasing program, assessing everything we use from pencils to art supplies to coffee cups, in search of the most sustainable choices.
And the #1 reason why CLWS is green:
1. Our Curriculum: Throughout the early childhood and grade level programs, the Waldorf curriculum embraces and explores the awe and wonder of the natural world.
We’re proud of all of these efforts and continue to strive to be even “greener”. Our school’s Green Committee meets regularly and welcomes new members at any time. If you are interested, please contact the committee chair, Marcee Hansen, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
We want to acknowledge that many of our recent green efforts have been generously funded by:
For more information, please visit www.clws.org or call us at 612-767-1550.