St. Paul’s operates from the belief that students thrive when exposed to the great outdoors, and based on that belief we designed an outdoor setting and program that offers our students a stimulating and thought-provoking atmosphere in which to learn academic lessons. St. Paul’s has found that by reaching beyond the standard classroom walls there is an ‘outdoor classroom’ where academics and life lessons can be taught to our children.
Four years ago, St. Paul’s designed a plan to incorporate a unique Outdoor Education Program through completely redesigning its school yard to take advantage of the teaching opportunities provided in the great outdoors. St. Paul’s Outdoor Education Program consists of several major components including, an Outdoor Education Coordinator, Culinary Garden, Outdoor Culinary Center, and weekly student activity period called PAWS to Work, a weekly class period when middle school students give back to their St. Paul’s community.
St. Paul’s outdoor areas are a major hub of activity and part of a comprehensive plan to combine a community-centered sustainable campus with a curriculum inclusive with environmental issues at all grade levels. Over the years, we have watched our Outdoor Education Program grow and believe the benefits of our garden and program are extensive, offering countless advantages for both the students and the school.
The gardens are managed under the guidance of the outdoor education coordinator who is also responsible for assisting the faculty with incorporating the outdoor program into the curriculum. The Culinary Garden has approximately 1,200 square feet of vegetable, herb, and flower gardens (all areas are wheelchair accessible).
St. Paul’s is always seeking ways in which to “pay it forward” and therefore provides a wide-range of outreach opportunities to its students and community. St. Paul’s uses its outdoor areas to partner with other local schools, the elderly, and students with disabilities. As mentioned above, one unique program offered at St. Paul’s is PAWS to Work. During this time, students divide into five groups: gardening, composting, campus beautification, recycling, and computer training for senior citizens. Come see our work anytime!
Benefits of School Gardening:
- Hands-on learning opportunities
- Good nutrition and exercise
- Life skills development
- Sense of community
- Culinary training
- Positive work ethic