Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham declared Sept. 27 to Oct. 1 Outdoor Learning Week, but at Escuela del Sol Montessori, every week is Outdoor Learning Week!
One of the main pillars of Dr. Maria Montessori’s century-old educational philosophy, and also of Escuela’s curriculum, is the connection between children and the natural world.
Escuela students have always had access to a lush urban campus, but last year, as part of Covid safety protocols for on-campus learning, Escuela del Sol constructed dedicated outdoor classroom spaces connected to each classroom. The doors and windows to the indoor classrooms spaces are kept open for airflow, and to allow the students to move freely between indoor and outdoor classroom spaces. And these outdoor classroom spaces are here to stay!
Outdoor learning is beneficial for children of all ages; constant contact with nature, the seasons and sensorial experiences help children understand the world around them. Students from toddlers through adolescence have opportunities to work, observe, and experience the outdoors in diverse garden areas throughout campus.
The Elementary playground has a large coop that is home to several rabbits and egg-laying chickens, and the Jr. High has an urban farm where they grow food they often use in their home cooked meals or sell during campus produce sales. The campus is dotted with fruit trees the children are free to eat from while at recess and working outdoors.
Toddler and Primary students take nature walks while their Classroom Guides describe sights, sounds, colors, textures, and smells, helping the children to enrich their language skills as they connect to the natural world. Elementary students use the gardens around campus to study botany and ecology, as well as a peaceful place to work. The Jr. High farm is not only a place of productive work for adolescents but also a natural laboratory for applied science, experimenting with composting, soil testing and agriculture.
Escuela del Sol Montessori is accredited by The American Montessori Society (AMS). Early Childhood, Elementary and Jr. High curriculum is designed to nurture creative thinking, effective communication, collaboration and self-discipline, and to help each child achieve academic excellence. The program includes Spanish, art and music studio classes that encourage self-expression and give students freedom to explore their creativity.