Lexington, Ky. (WTVQ) — Most days you’ll find Janet Shedd or Miss Shedd in classroom four at Providence Montessori. She’s been a teacher there for nine years.
But in early September, Shedd was studying geography, plants and animals in the Galapagos Islands off the coast of Ecuador. Shedd was named one of 35 teachers selected as a Grosvenor Teacher Fellow through National Geographic. In the program’s nine year history, she was the first selected from Lexington and the second from Kentucky.
“The idea is to give teachers who are really excited about geography, hands on experience,” says Shedd. “The Galapagos Islands have some of the most unique animals that you won’t see anywhere else.”
Shedd says they sailed around the islands, went on hikes and went underwater snorkeling to complete research. “It’s a very harsh environment there. The plants and animals have had to adapt,” Shedd says, talking about the islands’ limited fresh water supply.
Shedd’s ultimate goal? To pass along her experience to students here in Lexinigton, to get them excited about geography. She has shared lessons on sea lions, giant tortoises and blue-footed boobies. Her students remember the shape of the Galapagos Islands by its shape, similar to the outline of a hammerhead shark. “The children I’m teaching are going to go on to come up with solutions. It’s so important for them to learn about other parts of the world and what an amazing world we live in,” says Shedd.
Shedd says she will apply for other teaching fellowships in the future.
Four Lexington schools and one in Richmond claimed top honors for Kentucky in the 2014 national Recycle-Bowl Competition. Lexington’s Providence Montessori Middle School placed first, Montessori High School second, Leestown Middle third, Cardinal Valley Elementary fourth, and White Hall Elementary in Richmond fifth. The four Lexington schools recycled enough material to claim third place in the district division behind groups from California and Pennsylvania.
The third-grade students of Providence Montessori’s Classroom IV are the recipients of the Fayette County Farm Bureau’s Spring Reimbursement Gardening Grant. The grant supports Classroom IV’s spring planting of cold weather crops including carrots, beets, radishes, broccoli, turnips, and lettuce and the planting of summer crops of tomatoes and beans as the season transitions into summer.
The gardening program is one component of Providence Montessori’s overall mission of teaching and incorporating sustainable practices and initiatives geared towards preparing students for their future as environmental stewards and ambassadors. Each student participates in gardening activities three hours per week as part of classroom assignments that engage in Botany lessons focused on plant parts, reproductive processes, edible portions of each species included in the the spring crop, natural insect and pest prevention, weeding and maintenance, companion plantings, and expand to include vitamin and nutritional values of the plants.
The students kicked off the spring gardening initiative by surveying the plant beds and then by using the Square Foot Method, the students planted the garden, determined the crops and quantities of each species, and then strategically located them to incorporate insect defensive plants such as Marigolds. As part of this valuable hands-on experience the students gain an appreciation for eating organically grown produce with a long-term goal of preparing students for making sound decisions about the foods they consume.
The classroom gardening program incorporates Junior Master Gardening lessons, Montessori Botany curriculum and integrates both the University of Kentucky Cooperative Extension/4-H Office and the Department of Agriculture education resources.
Scouting is alive and well at Providence — scouts have been meeting at our school for over a decade. Here on the Providence campus are two scouting projects done by Providence alums:
Alumnus Wesley Walker created this amphitheater. This sets the stage for student performances, as well as occasional outdoor lessons.
Alumnus Tyler Weathers contributed this bridge and rock garden to the Providence campus. Students cross it to go from the FAAB (Founders’ Arts and Activities Building) to the playground, or to our main building.
Providence parent Jonathan Ware shared some news about a fantastic project that Lexington’s Gray Construction has done with the Boy Scouts of America. Click here to read his blog post about it!
Providence students recently participated in “Kids Can Hunger,” a food drive to benefit God’s Pantry Food Bank. Our students collected 1,691 pounds of food — that’s a retail value of $2,807! Way to go!
Click here to learn about the wonderful work God’s Pantry does in our community.
Providence Montessori has earned a Certificate of Appreciation from the Lexington-Fayette Urban County Government’s Environmental Commission.
One of the Bio-Retention swales
Parent Julie Brock submitted a nomination letter describing the planet-friendly reconfiguration of the school’s entrance. The water conserving bioswale rain gardens, with their lovely native flowers, trees and grasses add beauty to our campus as well as the surrounding community. Her letter also touched on Providence Montessori’s other environmentally responsible achievements, such as our Earth Day projects, recycling efforts, rain barrel and rain chains, and our Junior Master Gardeners program.