How We Extend Our Natural Lifestyle to the Classroom

by Chrystal Johnson on September 19, 2013

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Welcome to the September 2013 Natural Living Blog Carnival: Extending Natural Living to the Classroom.

This post was written for inclusion in the monthly Natural Living Blog Carnival hosted by Happy Mothering and The Pistachio Project through the Green Moms Network. This month, our members are talking about how they extend their family’s natural lifestyle to their child’s school. Hop around to each post to get some tips and share your own!

1st-day-schoolZoë started Kindergarten this year, so we’ve been in for a lot of changes in our home. It was always very easy sticking to a natural living routine, but it’s not as easy now that we have to be out the door at the same time each morning.

We do try our best to extend our natural lifestyle to Zoë’s school. Fortunately, the format of her school makes it much easier than the average elementary school.

She goes to a small, parent-run private school (there are 12 kids in her Kindergarten class). Since the school is so inclusive of parents, I have found that they are very flexible and open to supporting each child’s needs and each parent’s wishes.

Here are 5 ways we’re able to extend our natural lifestyle to her classroom.

Ensure Meals are Nourishing

As I said, the school is very small. So small, in fact, that they don’t even have a cafeteria. The kids also are not allowed to share food to help protect the children with food allergies. So we can pack Zoë’s lunch each day and control what she eats.

Reduce Waste

I try to pack as many of Zoë’s lunch items in reusable containers as possible to reduce the waste we create. In addition, her school recycles and composts (they have a gardening program) so I know the school is behind this philosophy.

Strong Parent Involvement

We have always been very involved parents, and I knew I wanted to continue to be involved after we decided against homeschooling. Since Zoë’s school is parent run, there is a parent helping in the classroom every day, and we can volunteer to help any time we want in addition to the 2 required days each month. Our voice is also listened to when we have suggestions for improvement at the school.

Staying Active

One concern I keep seeing in the news about public schools is the increasing lack of active time. It seems that recess time is being slashed in favor of more structured education time. Zoë still has 3 times out on the playground (it’s a very unstructured playground with lots of opportunities for free play) and they also do plenty of other outdoor activities.

Keeping Creative

Another program that seems to be disappearing from schools these days is art. I was happy to see that even in her initial screening with her teacher, Zoë got to paint and draw. Since Zoë loves arts and crafts, I have always tried to provide her with plenty of outlets for that creativity. I’m happy that she is also able to pursue those interests at school.

While I didn’t intend this post to be about how awesome Zoë’s school is, I guess it ended up being that way! Deciding not to homeschool was a tough decision, but I’m so happy with the school we chose. It truly allows us to extend our natural lifestyle to her school life.

You may be thinking that the school your child in doesn’t provide as many opportunities for natural living. If you’re not happy with your school’s current policies, speak up and get involved. Nothing changes if no one does anything about it. Grab a few like-minded parents and put together a plan of how you can make a difference!

I’d love to hear how you extend natural living to the classroom, or how you’d like to, in the comments section below!

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Visit Happy Mothering and The Pistachio Project to learn more about participating in next month’s Natural Living Blog Carnival!

Please take some time to enjoy the posts our other carnival participants have contributed:


About Chrystal Johnson

Chrystal, publisher of Happy Mothering, is a mother of two sweet girls who believes in living a simple, natural lifestyle. A former marketing manager, Chrystal spends her time researching green and eco-friendly alternatives to improve her family's life. She enjoys sharing those discoveries with anyone who's willing to listen.

{ 7 comments… read them below or add one }

1 CelloMom September 19, 2013 at 8:28 am

Wow, your daughter’s school sounds like a wonderful place: it’s so great, both for her and for you, that you can be involved. Certainly she looks very happy on that photo! (They are both beautiful!) I agree with you, being outdoors and time for free play is so important for their development, and their connection with nature.
CelloMom recently posted..How My Children’s School Greened Me

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2 Brittney Minor
Twitter: brittleby
September 19, 2013 at 1:13 pm

Sounds like an awesome school! I wish there was a local school like that where I live.
Brittney Minor recently posted..One Last Hurrah for Summer {Giveaway Hop} Ends 10/3

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3 Angie September 19, 2013 at 1:49 pm

Your school sounds awesome! I don’t think there’s anything like that where we live, although we are pretty happy with our local schools. They have PE usually twice a week, outdoor recess every day, art, and music. I love the parent involvement aspect of your school, though. Makes it much easier to implement some healthy changes!
Angie recently posted..Staying Healthy in the Classroom with Young Living Essential Oils

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4 Olivia @ This West Coast Mommy September 19, 2013 at 4:27 pm

Aww, look at that proud smile! Small schools are great for being responsive to parents and their concerns. I too prefer to stay away from schools that place all the emphasis on tests and grades, and then leave out physical, emotional, spiritual, and artistic accomplishments.
Olivia @ This West Coast Mommy recently posted..This is the Way We Walk to School

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5 Brittany @ The Pistachio Project
Twitter: PistachioProjec
September 19, 2013 at 5:36 pm

Keeping things natural in a school setting seems so hard. If my kids went to an actual school I know I’d be packing their lunches.
Brittany @ The Pistachio Project recently posted..Boosting Immunity During the School Year

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6 Leigh from Green-4-U
Twitter: greenforu
September 19, 2013 at 6:43 pm

It is so important that the kids and the parents feel like they are part of the community at school. The fact you found a school that matches your philosophy and your childs needs and interests is amazing. You are very lucky.
Leigh from Green-4-U recently posted..Parents: What To Ask About Greening The Classroom

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7 Amber September 20, 2013 at 5:37 am

What a great school! I think that’s great you don’t have to worry about the shared snacks problem. Some people bring pure junk!
Amber recently posted..Artist Picasso Gift Set Giveaway

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