Our vision: Inspired by the work of Rudolf Steiner, PRWS seeks to cultivate renewal through the integration of education and agriculture by engaging in a unique mix of social, cultural and economic endeavors.
In today’s world the youngest children need more outdoor time where they experience nature and may have purposeful work; elementary school students want to know more about the world through hands-on projects; high school students want to engage the world in a real-life business. We meet these needs by educating and inspiring children through hands-on experiences in our expansive gardens just a block from the school.
“Why teach children to garden? Our culture today is becoming more and more removed from nature. Our modern fast-paced lives make procuring and eating healthy food a challenge of enormous proportions, far from a natural experience. Eating is a basic human need. Growing food and caring for the earth is primal. It follows that the more we engage children with this practice, the more they have an opportunity to perceive the world of nature and their role in her care. Immersing ourselves in the rhythms of the seasons – something that happens naturally through caring for a garden – can rekindle a lost relationship and empower children to take responsibility for their own nourishment and food choices.” by Ronni Sands, Growing Sustainable Children: A Garden Teacher’s Guide, SteinerBooks, 2017
The Pleasant Ridge kindergartens have robust outdoor spaces where teachers work small garden plots and children join them as they are interested. Over the years interest in gardening with the grades students grew as teachers and parents with skills found ways and means to expand, including establishing a school garden on a neighboring property by teacher Steve Lawless in 2006. The school later purchased this property in 2015. This activity went hand-in-hand with the development of our Organic Hot Lunch Program offered four days a week to the grades and the Youth Initiative High School. In 2010 the school added a greenhouse just outside the school kitchen where herbs, greens and seed starts are grown. Students have the wonderful experience of planting, harvesting and serving food that they have helped grow in the many gardens available to them. They also learn composting, vermiculture, tool maintenance and garden planning. Honey bees and mason bees are kept on the property.
The gardening program took a great step forward in 2015 with the purchase of the neighboring property which we have named Growing for Good (www.growingforgood.org)
The Garden Program Coordinator has expanded the gardening curriculum which is delivered during Garden Field Days in Sept., Oct., April and May. On those days four classes spend time in the gardens. New raised-beds have been built that create planting areas that are appropriate for different ages. A fourth grade class built an expansive garden shed for storing the many tools. Youth Initiative High School holds part of their Agriculture block in the gardens, maintaining their own plots, and also donates service hours during their service weeks. Garden-focused day camps are offered during the summer months to aid in the summer maintenance.
High Mowing Seed, Seed Savers Exchange and Johnny’s Selected Seed
Kitchen Gardners International
Mid-States Shared Gifting Program of RSF Social Finance
Paul E. Stry Foundation
Scotts Miracle Grow Company
Vernon Memorial Healthcare
Whole Kids Foundation
Donations of tools, cash, and volunteer time are always welcome. Contact our Development Office at (608)637-8504 or [email protected]