Maple Village Waldorf School opened in 2008 with a philosophy and mission deeply aligned with the U.S Department of Education Green Ribbon School award. Having little to zero waste, low energy and water usage as a school, and farm to table education, heaps of outdoor time and physical activity (rain or shine) along with community volunteer work in our classes, creates a balance of heart, mind, body & spirit and a reverence for others and the environment among our faculty, students and parent community.
Zero Waste Meals
Each family is asked and educated in packing healthy, zero waste lunches in which we have 100% compliance. Daily cooked meals in all Early Childhood classes use organic grains and produce and are served in reusable ware. The children participate in the preparation of the meals and then help to hand wash the serving ware that are then set out to air dry. All servingware on campus is reusable and is compostable at larger events. Leftover vegetables and fruits are placed in our vermiposting and composting bins, which the children love to participate in! Paper and cardboard are repurposed into crafts or recycled. As a result, we are nearly a ZERO waste school (95% of waste is diverted). The amount of trash produced per person per month is less than 1 1/2 milk jugs!
Outdoor Play & Learning
Time spent outdoors is important to us. We are fortunate to have 4 parks within walking distance. In addition to 3 walk per week for Kindergarten, all grades walk to the park every Thursday to spend half of their day outdoors and average 9.5 hours a week of physical education. On campus, we created a Gardening program with a local urban farm and built a dedicated outdoor garden classroom. Students learn to be stewards for the environment by planting, watering, harvesting, composting, vermiposting, & only picking from the picking garden. 85% of our edible and 15% are California Native, and we have a National Wildlife Federation Wildlife Habitat. We water by hand and catch rain in barrels to use the gray water.
Since we are a technology-free school, we have very little electrical use in classrooms. There are no computers in the classrooms, our toys are battery-free and made of natural materials, and art supplies are plant & beeswax based. Most of our classrooms have wonderful natural lighting, so overhead lights are rarely turn on. We use hand sweepers more than vacuums and use green certified or homemade cleaning supplies derived from natural ingredients. The children love to help with these tasks and we feel comfortable allowing them to.
We benefit from education and partnerships with a number of agencies and organizations including, Long Beach Environmental Services, LB Office of Sustainability, California Department of Public Health, Cleaning for Asthma Safe Schools, Rain Barrel’s Int’l, Algalita Marine, Tree People, Grades of Green, local farms, and balanced health counseling professionals. The City of Long Beach just completed improvements to our street, creating a “Bike Boulevard” including roundabouts, traffic circles, landscape planting and access ramps, making it even easier for our families to walk and bike to school. Our parents come from all over the city and nearly 70% of transportation to/from school is alternative (not including electric/hybrid cars).
We love Long Beach and encourage our students and families to give back. We have a local food bank on our property that the older grades students help to stock monthly. Some will join once a month to hand out food to those in need. In the Holiday Season our students knit for the homeless, adopt families, sing at hospitals, make thank you cards for volunteers, and collect cans and toys for local food banks.
We entered the Cool California Energy Challenge for two years and won 1st place for the City of LB both times! In 2016 and 2017 we received the Green Ribbon award at the Gold Level for and was selected by Cal State Long Beach to be the project for the MBA program with a focus on sustainability. In 2018 we became a “Recognized Green Business” by the City of Long Beach and won the U.S Department of Education Green Ribbon Award in 2018. We are honored to be recognized and awarded this prestigious award. We continue to create new programs such as our “Green Team” and strive to go further to be an example. It is a goal and responsibility to educate other schools about the importance of our impact on the environment, creating a healthy school environment, and environmental education, as well as encourage them to take the challenge of commitment to become a US ED Green Ribbon School themselves.