Evanston’s Chiaravalle Montessori School, at 425 Dempster St., has been named a 2017 U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon School for its environmentally sustainable new building addition.
Nominated by the Illinois State Board of Education, the new multi-story replacement for an aging annex was cited for reducing the environmental impact and costs through sustainable features that include “geothermal heating and cooling, photovoltaics, a green roof, use of rapidly renewable materials, and a high-performance building envelope,” according to a news release about the award.
Students enjoy improved health and wellness in an active school where they can move throughout their day. They sit on the floor, at tables, or use standing desks, and have freedom to use the entire building as their learning space instead of being seated at a single desk for many hours.
Students as young as three years old can decide to take a “movement break” by grabbing a gym pass whenever they feel the need to move.
Effective environmental education continues as an integral part of its toddler through eighth grade programming. One focal point on campus is the Learning Garden, the school’s organic community garden space.
The garden is tended by students, faculty, and parent volunteers. Students harvest produce for food prep by classrooms or to be shared at the Parent Café in exchange for a donation.
“We are embracing the Montessori responsibility of being caretakers of the Earth,” commented Head of School Robyn McCloud-Springer. “We strive to be a model green school that prioritizes wellness and cultivates an environmentally informed community who cherish and protect our planet’s natural resources.”