Carmel Christian School

Continues Its Tradition of Innovative Learning with Purpose

Long held as a beacon of ingenuity, Carmel Christian School continues to think outside the box when it comes to actively engaging students in learning subjects that are not only timely but in this case, imperative, as the public becomes more aware of the individual and collective responsibility to grow sustainable foods and protect and nurture the natural resources we rely upon for survival.

CCS’s ongoing commitment to engraining in its students the importance of learning and applying fundamental principles in real time is evidenced by the school’s new learning garden, affectionally known as ‘The Sprout’, which officially opened on the CCS campus on April 21. The garden is the first step in a long-range plan to expand upon the school’s long-standing pledge to core content integration. Extending this philosophy outdoors gives students in grades K-12 a hands-on environmental education on campus grounds.

There is much more to come as ‘The Sprout’ garden is merely stage one of this multi-phase project that will develop over time and be implemented in stages. Students in Carmel Christian’s ConSERVation Club have taken a leadership role in this initiative providing the inspiration, design and muscle to see this dream come to fruition. The garden has been a group project in every sense of the word with the ConSERVation Club receiving the necessary support from the Trades classes, parent and student volunteers and collaboration from friends of the school, notably, expert Emily Shepherd from Grounded Garden Wellness, to instruct and guide students on how best to steward the land to reap a sustainable, organic harvest of botanicals, herbs and produce while using eco-friendly tools, products and practices.

You will notice that the spelling of ConSERVation emphasizes the “serve” syllable, which is no accident. Students at CCS are constantly encouraged to use their knowledge, abilities and their hearts to serve God, their church, families and communities in all that they do.

Raised-bed Gardening

The trades classes at Carmel Christian School chose a raised-bed garden design, then build and installed the raised beds themselves. Not familiar with the concept? Here is a brief overview of raised-bed gardening and some advantages this style of gardening offers:

Raised-bed gardening has emerged as a popular choice among those who are interested in gardening but do not have large sections of land available where the soil is adequate for planting. Other users may lack the ability to make the time commitment traditional gardening requires. Raised beds offer the option of gardening on a smaller scale with less maintenance. They also provide versatility as they can be made or purchased in a variety of shapes and sizes. This approach can also make gardening more accessible to those with physical challenges, which has earned beds the nickname “back savers” since users do not have to bend down as far to care for their plants.

Because they sit above ground, raised beds have been found to allow a better level of drainage compared to traditional in-ground gardening. Available in an array of sizes and shapes, raised beds feature a support frame often constructed of wood or stone. This type of gardening bed can prove helpful when your property includes uneven or sloped land. Used with a thoughtful design plan, these beds can be used to create a garden with a well-manicured appearance.

Containerized raised garden beds are freestanding, making them the most versatile option as you can place one in multiple areas throughout your yard and other outdoor spaces you wish to emphasize such as alongside walkways or your drive. This type of raised gardening bed offers an attractive alternative that can make gardening easier for those with mobility issues.

In the future, classes will incorporate lessons on composting and student artwork. The next goal is to have the school’s Entrepreneurship class market the harvest to area businesses. As the school puts it, the ultimate goal of this project is to “encourage a love for learning, the outdoors and to steward God’s creation well” among all who attend Carmel Christian School.

In addition to this latest project, the school continues to lead in stem learning as evidenced by the school's winning awards during the school year in competitions.  The school continues to thrive in academic excellence with children not only excelling in the classroom, but they continue to reach new heights in the arts and athletics while having a willingness to serve with a Christian discipline.  The school celebrated five Merit Scholarship Finalists in the Spring and seven seniors committed to colleges to play sports while continuing their education.

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