Monarch Montessori Outdoor Learning and Urban Gardens

Monarch has committed to enriching their outdoor learning environment. There are raised garden beds for each classroom as well as garden beds in front of the playgrounds. Students help in the garden plant, water, pull weeds and pick vegetables. Students will be allowed to try food from the garden. 

Gardening – planting, harvesting, and tasting!

Utilizing a garden space to bring the world of fresh produce to life is one way our program teaches young children and their families about healthy food choices and the types of nutritious foods that will support children’s brain development. Children participating in growing and harvesting fresh fruits and vegetables can build a strong connection that the fruits and veggies are more than just food on a plate or a snack to eat. It teaches them responsibility, time and attention so that living things will grow and thrive. The children learn science by using it to create an understanding of how the plants grow from a tiny seed into these amazing plants that produce fruits, vegetables, and herbs. 

Both First Steps and Elementary have garden areas that are conveniently located on our campus. We have over 60 garden beds! In the garden areas, the children are provided with the opportunity to learn how to prepare a garden bed or a planter, plant seeds, care for the plants as they grow, talk about what is happening inside the plant, the children then harvest the produce, and we try the various vegetables/fruits/herbs during snack and lunch times. Examples of the types of plants that the children and teachers grow are carrots, tomatoes, lettuce, mint, cilantro, to name a few. With the garden we are teaching children the importance of eating fresh fruits, vegetables, and herbs. Using the garden to bring it all together in a real-life experience, which also builds understanding of life cycles, nutrition, hard work, and responsibility.

Monarch has a solar oven on site, and children can make many delicious things with their teachers even on cold days as long as the sun is out!

Walking along the Peace Path

On nice days, you will often see classes walking along the peace path. The Peace Path is used for meditative walks, opportunities to observe and notice what is changing through the seasons, scavenger hunts and reflection. The whole school walks the Peace Path together after each whole-school assembly. The Peace Path is a half mile walk in a natural area of the property. 

Partnerships with the Community

We also have a regular Garden club and work with partnerships throughout the year for supporting student involvement and understanding of gardening, composting, nutrition, environmental stewardship and care for the earth. Partnerships include Ekar Farms, 4H, Colorado University, BEWell and more.

Children’s Farm, overseen by the Montbello Organizing Committee, is also creating a farm on our site. The farm will be used by students throughout the district to visit and learn about farming.  Monarch children will be permitted to walk through the Children’s Farm, as it will be placed along the Peace Path. 

Interacting with Animals

The school has many live animals on site, including chickens, turtles, fish, and more. The school also regularly partners with outdoor organizations to bring animals to the school for children to learn about and interact with. Children in First Steps do not touch the animals except where permitted by state licensing for their age group. Children in Elementary may touch them and participate in their care. Children are taught healthy handwashing techniques and are supervised for healthy and safe handling of animals. 

How Can You Help?

We will need the support of Monarch families, local businesses and the communities we serve. Monetary donations are tax-deductible. You can make a donation in December on Colorado Gives Day on either of our pages for First Steps or Charter.

Families: Check with your employer to see if your company has a match program as a way of increasing your donation. Click here to make a direct donation. Get your hands dirty and volunteer to help build! Check back here for more opportunities to get involved.

Business and Community: We will have opportunities for businesses to get involved! Marketing opportunities as well as donations and volunteering.