We believe that it is immensely important to integrate our curriculum with the School’s immediate surroundings and community. The “Learning through Landscapes” program, which originated in Britain, involves the exploration, appreciation and use of the School grounds as an opportunity for experiential learning.
This program integrates the study of the environment and science with math, literature, social studies and the arts. The Learning through Landscapes program involves children, teachers and parents in the long-term development of the School grounds. The School’s natural surroundings are a composite of outdoor classrooms where play and academic work are interwoven.
For example, younger students may learn about life cycles while popping corn kernels harvested from the School garden, or bolster their Language Arts skills while “baking the Alphabet”. Older students use their math skills to graph the effects of different soil types on seedling growth. Frost shadows observed in late fall are observed from a scientific perspective and may be inspiration for creative prose and poetry. Rye and wheat planted by students are harvested, threshed and ground into flour. The flour is then used to make bread for the School’s Thanksgiving celebration. This project teaches students the life cycle of bread from seedling to loaf and reinforces social studies lessons of life in historical times.
Learning through Landscapes continues through the winter when indoor experiments are linked to the curriculum. The School Garden produces a bounty of organically grown fruits, grains and vegetables and provides an area of study for students. Native trees have been planted throughout the School grounds. Shrubs selected to attract birds and butterflies form an outdoor Library Reading Garden. Students have studied wetlands and then developed a rain garden on the School grounds that now serves as an additional area of study. Portions of lawn have been allowed to grow naturally to provide a wildlife habitat and offer an opportunity to study plant succession.
In the Spring of 2008, PJS became the first area school to earn River Friendly Certification through the Stony Brook Millstone Watershed Association. To receive this certification, the School was required to complete goals for water quality management, water conservation, wildlife and habitat enhancement, and education and outreach. We are very proud to have received this award.
Environmental studies (sciences) are integrated with core subject areas including math, literature, social studies, and the arts.
The School Garden produces a bounty of organically grown fruits, grains and vegetables as well as an area of study for students. Native trees have been planted throughout the school grounds. Shrubs selected to attract birds and butterflies form an outdoor room for the Library Reading Garden. Students have studied wetlands and then developed a rain garden on the School grounds, that now serves as another area of study. Portions of lawn have been allowed to grow naturally to provide a wildlife habitat and an opportunity to study plant succession. As a result of these efforts, the school grounds have recently received Wildlife Habitat certification by the National Wildlife Federation.