One giant outdoor classroom: Montessori school offers ideal space during COVID-19

Pamela Cotant:

Blooming Grove Montessori’s 10-acre property is one giant outdoor classroom — an ideal space for learning during the COVID-19 pandemic.

But the school, which reopened to in-person learning June 1 and has been free of COVID-19, has altered its approach.

Students can pick vegetables and fruits from the school’s gardens to eat individually, but are not taking part in shareable cooking projects. A huge watermelon that was hard to resist was offered to students recently, but elementary teacher April Netz wore a mask as she washed and cut it up.

“It is a sad way to prepare food,” Netz said. “Usually we will have kids help with every aspect of that.”

Blooming Grove Montessori was founded in 2015 in a former residential duplex that sat on just under five acres in the town of Blooming Grove. Then two years later, the school purchased an adjacent parcel measuring about five acres. Together the land gives the school a rural feel in a rather typical neighborhood.