Montessori Ecology Curriculum

In a true Montessori fashion, Urban Montessori Charter School (UMCS) is expanding the prepared environment to the outdoor spaces of its campus. UMCS will turn what was formerly a slab of asphalt into a beautiful outdoor classroom, where students will learn botany, nutrition, environmental awareness, scientific observation and inquiry, and hands-on cultivating skills while integrating other curricular areas such as Art, Design Thinking, Language Arts, and Math. The Montessori Curriculum is designed to give children a clear understanding of the natural world, of human knowledge, and of themselves and that is what we aim to do through expanding the learning spaces at our school.

UMCS is located in East Oakland, which is known for being a food desert that houses more liquor stores and fast food restaurants than grocery stores with fresh produce. Schools like UMCS can play a dramatic role in shifting students’ relationship with food, a lifestyle change that sticks with them their whole lives. Deepening their sense of place and in the living systems that sustain them, will help to give students the wisdom, knowledge and tools to create long lasting regenerative change in the places in which they live.

I’m a Lower Elementary teacher deeply committed to expanding my students’ understanding and sense of place in their environment. Through my work and learning through the Center for Critical Environmental & Global LIteracy (CCEGL), UC Berkeley, the Urban Permaculture Institute of San Francisco (UPISF), the Alameda Point Collaborative (APC), and Montessori Ecology Training through the Nature’s Classroom Institute, I have developed a vision for an integrated Montessori curriculum with Ecology at it’s heart. This integrated scope and sequence requires students to have access to an outdoor prepared environment and ecology themed materials.

In addition to teaching our students about patterns for an active and healthy lifestyle — this garden will become a living memorial to Sara Hoda, a beloved UMCS teacher that was lost in the tragic Ghostship Warehouse Fire in November of 2016. Through the garden, we will honor her deep commitment to gardening, environmental education, social justice and her love for children. As a school entering it’s 6th year of existence, we do not yet have the infrastructure and materials to make such a learning space and curriculum possible. That is why we are reaching out to you for support to get started!

From your donations we would like to purchase:

-Wood and soil to build planter boxes along the side of the building closest to most Lower Elementary classrooms
-Materials for an irrigation system
-a startup vermiculture (worm) composting system
-tree saplings, seeds, starts, edible perennials, natives, and other plant matter
-kid tools: trowels, hand tillers, half-size shovels
-Fresh organic produce from local farmers to support the “Botany on Your Plate” curriculum
-Ecology themed Montessori Materials and Children’s
Literature many of which can be found on my classroom’s Amazon Wishlist

My deepest thanks, in advance, for opening your hearts and wallets for UMCS students – we can’t do this without you!


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  • Sudia McCaleb 
    • $100 
    • 31 mos
  • Philippe Quentin 
    • $50 
    • 42 mos
  • Anonymous 
    • $50 
    • 42 mos
  • Shannon Phillips 
    • $100 
    • 42 mos
  • Cassandra Braun 
    • $50 
    • 43 mos
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Margarita Acosta 
Oakland, CA
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