We are thrilled to launch an incredible new program beginning in the 2012-2013 school year: the Prairie Crossing Charter School (PCCS) Sustainable Schoolyard!
The Sustainable Schoolyard will include:
- A large greenhouse (30' by 60') which will have the ability to house an entire class. The greenhouse will feature an aquaponics system and will allow us to expand our growing season (with fish and greens growing year-round), seed start on a large scale, and grow food that can be used to feed students in programs like Farm to Table.
- 45 raised beds, including three handicap-accessible beds and eighteen beds equipped with cold frames. Each of PCCS' K-8 classes will have the use of between 1-3 garden beds, one with a cold frame. This will allow us to pursue a food production, nutrition, and agricultural curricula right on our campus!
- A small fruit tree orchard. Fruit trees help to heal the environment by keeping the air clean, improving the soil quality, preventing erosion, creating new animal habitats, and providing healthy sources of nutrition. (http://www.ftpf.org/)
- Outdoor spaces for learning and reflection. Our goal is to create a schoolyard that is fully reflective of our mission and values, and that allows our students and teaching staff to utilize the outdoor environment and new amenities as a classroom as frequently as they use their indoor spaces.
We are thoroughly excited about what this new venture has in store. Starting a growing program right on our own campus will give us the opportunity to experience the growth cycle on a daily basis . It will allow our curriculum to grow and expand based on student interests and abilities. We will be able to employ a constructivist approach, allowing our methods and lessons to be dictated by the curiosities and desires of our students and teachers. We will be able to manipulate variables and perform real science experiments in our new greenhouse and aquaponics laboratory. Finally, the program will expand the visual appeal of the PCCS campus. We eagerly anticipate the innovative programming that will come from the Sustainable Schoolyard!
We will update this page regularly with new information, in addition to sending out information directly to the PCCS community. We are actively seeking partners and sponsors for the Sustainable Schoolyard program. If you are interested in learning more, please contact Naomi Hershiser, Dean of Environmental Programs, at nhershiser [at] pccharterschool [dot] org or 847.548.1426. Thank you!