Environmental Studies and The Garden

The Environment is the Third Teacher! – Environmental Studies and the Garden at La Scuola

lascuolablog Atelier, Teaching and Learning

Looking down on the garden on our Mission Campus. Photo: Jutta Kamp Photography

The environment is the third teacher! The La Scuola environmental studies and garden program provides our students with a unique opportunity to be in a natural setting when learning about the environment. They practice empathy while navigating a thriving habitat and touch, feel, and experience science and math firsthand. Students authentically feel a duty to steward the planet and to help others do so as well.

The natural environment quite often surprises children and provides them with the spontaneity that leads to new ideas, curiosities, and a sense of wonder. During the lessons in our garden, students explore gardening practices and identification of plants and vegetables, as well as common garden visitors like hummingbirds, butterflies, and bees. Through a multi-sensory relationship to the garden, children gain an understanding of the ecology, the cycle of food production, consumption, and a strengthened sense of stewardship toward their community.

The cycle of a lemon tree in our garden. Photo: Jutta Kamp Photography
Curiosity and discovery with our preschoolers.  Photo: Jutta Kamp Photography

Our PreK – Grade 5 students visit the garden one to two times per week. During that time, depending on the class level, the garden is a place where the children explore, observe, and integrate their in-classroom inquiry. Much of the class is focused on student-led learning, in a pedagogy where we know that the environment is the third teacher. For example, if the inquiries are focused on the topic of water, the visits to the garden help to integrate the connection between water and our ecosystem, and the importance of water towards the survival of the plants and animals within it. If the in-classroom lessons are focused on global climate changes, the visits to the garden help the students to understand where our food comes from, which plants grow better than others, which are native to the area, and how composting nourishes the soil for future plantings. The students’ curiosity in the elements applies this learning with reality.

”Learning about the environment while in the environment.” An environmental studies class taking place with our Elementary School students.  Photo: Jutta Kamp Photography

Our graduates understand the interdependence of nature and how that collaborative, inter-dependent web extends to other aspects of their life — and to other lives around the world. 

To learn more about the Environmental Studies program at La Scuola International School, why not take an in-person tour at one of our three campuses – San Francisco’s Dogpatch or Mission, and Silicon Valley. We’d love to share the La Scuola magic with you. 

To read more about La Scuola, visit our website, or contact our Admissions team at admissions@lascuolasf.org.

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