Gardens


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Peace Garden

A garden raised by children naturally inspires discovery, learning, and adventure. The process of caring for plants allows children to practice being responsible for and nurturing to other living things. It helps them lay the groundwork for an ethic of environmental stewardship. Gardening requires children to work together and cooperate in pursuit of a successful project. Lessons about respecting others’ work and effort emerge while working in the garden. Children learn to provide for themselves and others when crops are harvested from the soil enriched with student-created compost and shared with those in the community. These programs connect all children to the natural world and its cycles. Gardens satisfy senses and illuminate imaginations. Students take part in activities that help to develop an ecological perspective on life and a sense of responsibility for our environment. These activities help increase awareness and conceptual understanding of the natural world and a sense of belonging in the outdoors. Group experiences and time for individual reflection provide opportunities for better appreciation of our place in the world.

Students are welcome to experience the Peace Garden throughout the day at Main Campus. Activities in the garden are facilitated by our full-time Master Gardener, who also engages the children in our school-wide compost program. Composting has been a successful, useful and mutually beneficial part of MEC’s environmental efforts for many years. The program purposefully and explicitly keeps with the philosophy of the Peace Garden itself in teaching children the valuable and enthralling manner of our natural world.

 

Labyrinth

At Montessori Education Centre’s North campus, traveling our garden labyrinth’s path is a personal journey that is unlike any other and provides a meaningful experience for both children and adults alike. When walking a labyrinth in a Montessori environment, one can feel at peace, balanced, and secure in the knowledge that the center will be found by following the path. So, in the labyrinth, there are no wrong ways, dead ends, or blind alleys, no decisions to make or puzzles to solve. It’s very “Montessori” in that it is a self-correcting lesson in concentration. Pay attention, trust the path, and you will get to the goal. Finding the way out is just as simple. And, if you do happen to lose your focus and forget which way you’re going, you may end up back at the beginning, or at the center again if you were on your way out. Like other lessons, you know you can try again.

Why do we walk our labyrinth as part of our curriculum? It’s simple; labyrinths are truly a natural complement to our Montessori environment. As Montessorians, we consciously incorporate peace education in the curriculum and encourage children to grow internally. We seek positive outcomes for ourselves and our children when faced with personal and interpersonal decisions. We practice and model respect and honor for ourselves, each other, and the environment. We find ways to recognize the good and reflect on where we are. The labyrinth can be a valuable tool in all those things—a child regaining self-control, friends working through a problem, a group celebrating community, or an individual having a place for active self-discovery. The labyrinth is a special symbol and can be a powerful spiritual place; it holds incredible potential for our school’s community as we learn to rediscover the beauty and effectiveness of walking “within.”