With an ecology and farming curriculum intended to “cultivate in the students and the staff a consistent and ongoing relationship with the outdoors,” San Francisco’s Golden Bridges School, a K-8 urban farm school, unveiled plans for its new campus, an urban farm school that will include a green roof and facade, an expansive green spacecontaining an orchard, edible garden, chicken coop, and an outdoor kitchen.
A Living Building With Green Roofs and Outdoor Classrooms
Designed by Natoma Architects in conjunction with landscape designers SWA landscape, the new campus–74% of which will be open space–is intended to create a seamless interplay between its indoor classrooms and outdoor teaching spaces.
Its two-story foliage covered “living building” will feature a golden bridge unifying the center of the structure with its classrooms, courtyards, and gathering spaces for students and the community.
Creating a “school hidden behind a hill,” the plant-clad building will slope down in the front with a green roof that will provide insulation and water retention to absorb storm water runoff and prevent flooding, while also filtering the air and absorbing sound.
Plants and flowers on the roof will create a habitat for the pollinators that are vital for agricultural production.
Hands-On Learning on An Urban Farm
Preschoolers through 8th graders will work on the farm every day, growing kale, zucchini, onions, and other vegetables and herbs. The school’s 55 students are already experienced urban farmers: for the past two years, they’ve been tending sections of the urban farm that currently occupies the one acre lot purchased for the new campus. Six years ago Caitlyn Galloway and another gardener turned theonce vacant and overgrown plot into Little City Gardens, an urban farm that has not only unified the neighborhood, but makes a profit by selling produce to local restaurants.
Curriculum Based on Waldorf Education Program
The Golden Bridges School’s curriculum is based on Austrian writer, educator and social activist Rudolph Steiner’s holistic and progressive Waldorf Education model. Steiner’s philosophy, “anthroposophy,’ led to the development of the biodynamics movement, a holistic, ecological and ethical approach to farming, gardening, food and nutrition.
Rooted in the Waldorf Education program which incorporates the tenets of biodynamics into its ecological and place-based curriculum, Golden Bridges’ curriculum focuses on “the relationship of the human being to their surrounding environment, with attention to earthly and seasonal phenomenon, sustainable practices, stewardship and nurturing the experience of nature in the city.”
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