The Nature Trail was a project that brought together our entire community – children, teachers, parents. Starting as an outdoor classroom dream by our teachers, we found an architect amongst our parent community to bring the dream to reality.
After five years of planning, digging, building, and planting, we have a 680 ft long trail that encompasses six different native planting zones. These zones include low maintenance flowering beds of annual & perennial grasses and wildflowers, Puget Basin forest understory, flowering forest understory, wild berries, a bio-swale with wetland grasses, and a sunny hillside stabilization section.
After replacing non-native plants with native ones, we use compost from our yard waste to help reduce the trail’s water dependence, and do not use pesticides or outside fertilizers.
The Nature Trail is a living classroom and is an integral part of the educational experience. It provides both on path and off path opportunities to observe, discuss, and interact with a broad representation of nature. True to Montessori philosophy, it meets the student’s learning styles and sensory needs. It provides classrooms with specific stewardship responsibility. The nature trail facilitates independent, small group and large group learning scenarios.
The Nature Trail provides a low maintenance natural environment that has several divergent paths to explore and multi-level experiences. It offers a variety of motor activities for a broad range of community members. This trail is a place where the community DOES things! Dig, feed, move, build, reshape, plant, weed, harvest, explore.
The Nature Trail is a journey, not a destination. It provides a sense of wonder of the natural world and a feeling of belonging to that world. The Trail is an evolving, dynamic ecosystem with a sense of history and purpose that invites the community to ponder what’s next. It facilitates community ritual, welcomes families and exemplifies our commitment to educating the whole child.
The Nature Trail is a touch point of community for MCH. The students provide leadership and have a vested interest in the Trail. The staff, parents, and extended families are intimately involved in the effort and the project will continue to span generations of students. The Mature Trail provides campus continuity and embodies the Montessori peace education mandate. MCH is part of a larger community and the Nature Trail enhances connections with that broader community.