The Nature-Centered Classroom

The thing that sets The Jefferson School apart from all other schools in our region is the way we use our campus. 

Located at the edge of the Redden State Forest, The Jefferson School campus is an ecological treasure, with two ponds, trails with five family fitness stations, a garden, greenhouse, a five member goat tribe and a bee observation window. Since 2010, we have been cultivating alliances with regional partners to build a nature-centered, hands-on curriculum for our students.  Our goal is to create a nature-centered, hands-on educational facility that can be shared with others in the community.

 

Nature Explore Classroom

WHAT WE ARE DOING:

NATURE CLASSROOM - At the center of the campus we have ongoing development of a Nature Classroom.  The Nature Classroom features a variety of engaging areas where students can explore, create, observe and play. Even though it was originally conceived for our younger students, our Middle Schoolers use the space for outdoor classes of all kinds. In addition, we have also added an outdoor classroom with a dry erase board and benches for all ages. 

SCIENCE SATURDAY - Hands-on science activities for families, held in the fall Sept./Oct. and in April.  Free and open to the public

  • Participating Partners include Delaware Nature Society, University of Delaware College of Marine Studies, Lewes Historical Society, Salisbury University, Delaware Tech, DNREC, Delaware State Parks, Delaware Bee Keepers Association, Delaware Wetlands, First Lego League, and more...

 

DELAWARE PATHWAYS TO GREEN SCHOOLS - schools commit to becoming more sustainable and energy efficient

  • Pursuing Energy Pathway (TJS participated in an energy audit of the school)
  • Schoolyard Habitat Pathway - (planting projects, etc.)     

DELAWARE CHILDREN IN NATURE - MEMBER 

  • To improve environmental literacy, create opportunities for children to participate in outdoor experiences, promote healthy lifestyles and provide better access to green spaces through schools and community programs.

DELAWARE FOREST SERVICE AND U.S. FISH AND WILDLIFE SERVICE

  • Working with the Delaware Forest Service and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to create Forest Patches with companion shrubs that will service as outdoor collaborative classrooms and observation areas

TJS NATURE-CENTERED CLASSROOMS

MILESTONES

2010 - Nature Trails developed around campus

2011 - TJS acquires the first two of what has become a tribe of 5 goats

2015 - Science Saturday, a free, family-friendly, twice yearly hands-on science event debuts.  Open to the public.

2016 - TJS becomes a partner in Delaware Children in Nature and Delaware Pathways to Green Schools.

Spring 2016 - Installation of the observation beehive

Spring 2017 - Installation of five forest patches with native companion shrubs that will serve as outdoor collaborative classrooms and observation areas

Summer 2017 - Bill Nelson from Salisbury University joins faculty as Environmental Education Coordinator

Fall 2017 - TJS acquires 3 hens and 1 rooster

Winter 2018 - Addition of expanded trails and a new outdoor classroom