Journey School, Capistrano Unified School District’s first public parent-initiated Waldorf charter school stands out as a leader in environmental education and ecoliteracy. The school's program teaches and engages students in the environment and prepares them for the 21st century.
At a time when most public schools are only now seeing the wisdom and benefits of environmental education, Journey School is already excelling in the realm of sustainability. Five established school gardens on campus provide outdoor classrooms designed to support the ecoliteracy curriculum spiral which carries throughout the elementary and middle school grades culminating in the creation of eco-leaders.
K-8th grade students learn about the principles of sustainability to include gardening, soil building, composting, worm composting, recycling, water conservation and reuse, rainwater harvesting, native skills, medicinal plants, permaculture principles and eco-leadership to name a few.
The four steps Journey School's program put it ahead of schools just now embarking on this project are:
- Since 2010, sustainable education has been embedded in the main lesson curriculum and master calendar of learning for the year.
- Spiraling from nature walks in Kindergarten to eco-leadership in 8th grade, children receive age-appropriate hands-on lessons backed by incredible support from administration and faculty.
- A team of dedicated parent volunteers maintain the outdoor classrooms so they are always ready for learning.
- Deep partnerships with expert community partners who donate supplies and devote countless volunteer hours.
Richard Louv, co-founder and chairman emeritus of the Children & Nature Network, asserts in his blog following the first-ever White House Summit on Environmental Education that: "We could be entering one of the most creative periods in human history, precisely because of the environmental challenges we face. To help our children and future generations prepare for a better and not just survivable future, we need to build the foundation of environmental literacy, and expand the definition of that literacy. We need to support the environmental educators and all the other natural teachers who are working harder than ever, often overcoming considerable obstacles, to connect children to the natural world and to that better future."
Because of their deep connection to their school campus, their school gardens, and the natural world, Journey School graduates will be prepared to innovate and overcome future challenges.