Outdoor Education and Gardening

Roland Park Country School believes that nature and the outdoor classroom provides valuable learning experiences for its girls.

Lessons in environmental sustainability, wellness, food systems, earth science, and social justice are woven into this year-round program. The outdoor learning classrooms, gardens and Backwoods give students authentic ways to build on classroom lessons in a real-world context. With Roland Park Country School’s mission of instilling in the girls a sense of leading for the greater good and putting health and wellness front and center, the garden program allows the girls to see environmental stewardship in action and teaches important lessons about food’s impact on the body. Lower School girls see themselves as global citizens instrumental in keeping the planet healthy.

Roland Park Country School has six gardens on campus.

Herb garden
Raised bed vegetable gardens
Three sisters garden
Rain garden
Native meadow
Monarch butterfly way station

Learn more about the RPCS garden program. 

Examples of our Outdoor Education curriculum include:

Planting and Harvesting

Our students, including the preschoolers, focus on growing vegetables and herbs for their school community. By planting seeds in early spring, caring for their gardens, harvesting, preparing, and eating the produce, students learn about the life cycle of plants and people and the interconnection between them. At the end of each school year, students leave having planted a summer garden, and they return in the fall to harvest it.

Food Preparation and Nutrition

Students learn about food preparation and nutrition as they harvest the produce they grow for their school community. Harvest feasts and celebrations include sorrel wrapped apples with local honey, herbal teas, ratatouille, natural popcorn from dried kernels, and sweet potato pie. 

Monarch Butterfly Waystation

Our Monarch Waystation provides nectar plants and milkweed for Monarchs on their long migration. Students rear, tag and release Monarchs into the garden.

Three Sisters Garden

In the Three Sisters Garden, students grow corn, beans and squash the way Native Americans grew them 400 years ago. After planting this garden as second graders, third grade students celebrate the fall harvest as part of their study of early Maryland.

Composting

Fourth graders compost garden waste to create healthy soil for our campus gardens and learn about recycling, organic matter, aerobic decomposition, microorganisms, vermiculture, and soil ecosystems.

Land Stewardship

In 5th grade, students build an understanding of land stewardship practices that have an impact on the health of the Chesapeake Bay. Students assess annual gardens and perennial landscapes on campus using the Bay Wise Assessment tool. Students learn about planting wisely, feeding the soil and controlling storm water runoff.