Dear Parents,

Earth Week is a microcosm of our school at its best. As I walked around campus observing activities, three aspects really stood out to me. One, our children are learning about the importance of conservation and taking care of our Earth. Two, they are building a sense of community and teamwork. Three, our students are using our beautiful campus to experience the outdoors and nature.

We were fortunate to have terrific weather, and all week long I saw students outside working on projects and learning about conservation. Kindergarteners and second graders planted native Jacobs Ladder and Cardinal along the nature trail on the Crocker Conservancy. Upper School students visited both Chet Hobert Park and Jim Barnett Park to pick up trash and items to recycle. First graders were outside building a bee house for Mason Bees. Fourth graders pulled invasive garlic mustard plants and planted bluebells in their place.

I love that multiple grade levels were working together on a single project, reinforcing the sense of community. The beehive project was a great lesson in teamwork. And much like the honey bees that the hives are designed for, it was a good reminder of how we are stronger as a group than as individuals. To watch each grade construct and piece together the hives over a span of five days was impressive and a wonderful show of community.

It is important to get children outside in nature. There is current research focusing on the positive effects on our bodies of getting outside. A fascinating study out of Aarhaus University in Denmark tracks one million individuals over almost three decades. While it focuses on the connection between health and nature with people at various ages, it zeroes in on the impact that the amount of time children spend in nature has on human development over time. Mrs. Coutts and I discuss this research in the podcast at the top of the page, so I hope you will take the time to listen as we talk about nature and its effects on stress, mental health, and well being.

Readings from the Podcast:

More Green Spaces in Childhood Associated With Happier Adulthood

Stressed out by office life? This scientist prescribes “nature pills”

Oliver Sacks: The Healing Power of Gardens

Kudos to all of our teachers and volunteers on a great Earth Week!

Sue Scarborough
Head of School