At PSOE we feel that teaching students to garden is teaching them about how life works.
The goal of the environmental education program is to teach how natural environments function and how humans can connect to their environment in ways that create a more sustainable ecosystem. We want to increase our understanding of this interconnection and demonstrate how to connect and care for the natural world that sustains us.
An integral component of the Environmental Education curriculum is the Paramount School Farm. The farm provides hands-on and visual learning for students and is an important tool for teachers. The environmental education team aims to introduce environmental topics and natural subject matter applicable to each grade level. Whether through gardening or through interacting with our chickens, students can see their classroom lessons played out in real life. Students have the opportunity to partake in the various programs offered on our school farm.
Student participants have the opportunity to care for the dairy goats on Paramount’s farm. The importance of responsibility is learned through milking the goats on a daily basis and tending to their everyday needs. The milk from our goats is used for on-site cheese making. Our cheese is sold at four different artisan markets through the city of Indianapolis. Students gain a sense of accountability and earn a respect for nature and animals.
Select students will participate and learn the art and science of beekeeping in our four-hive apiary. Participants become apprentice beekeepers and learn how to manage a hive, and harvest honey in the fall, which will be available at our weekly farmers market held at the school. The incredible world of honeybees will also be integrated into classroom curriculum at various grade levels.
S.T.E.A.M. (Success Through Education, Agriculture and Mentoring)
The farm is in peak production during the summer and so are the STEAM participants. This is a summer mentoring program that allows chosen students to continue to connect to the natural world, even when school is not in session. Participants take on various tasks around the farm, with the majority of the focus on our food garden. The ability for students to sow seeds, nurture their plants to maturity, and harvest food for sale at our on-site market is an invaluable lesson in patience and cause and effect. This experience gives students a better understanding of where food comes from along with a respect for the hard work involved in sustainable food production. It also provides a wonderful opportunity for learning how pollination works and how ecosystems are dependent on one another.
Any student is welcome to join this after school program that promotes healthy living and environmental stewardship. The environmental education team works to encourage students to take initiative and be actively involved in their community. Students learn how to care for our fruit tree orchard, berry patch, or work with other ongoing projects around the farm. Various activities and games are used to get students moving, and young people develop the knowhow to function as a member of a team.