Life Lessons Through Gardening
Through live demonstration and daily interaction, Paramount's Environmental Education program teaches students how to connect meaningfully to their environment to create a more sustainable ecosystem.
Paramount School Farm
Brookside's 5.5-acre campus includes a working farm—an integral part of the school’s STEM curriculum that enables multi-disciplinary practices in urban agriculture.
Connections to the farm begin in the classroom, where teachers connect learning goals with farm experiences. The farm acts as an outdoor classroom during the school year and, during the summer, hosts Paramount’s Success Through Education Agriculture and Mentoring (STEAM) program.
Two full-time farm employees maintain operations and support content instruction, extracurricular groups, and community initiatives. They work with classes to meet learning outcomes through a safe and meaningful experience.
The 1.5-acre Paramount School Farm has:
over 2,500 square feet of no-till raised garden beds
a varietal orchard
a native pollinator garden
a 30×50 foot greenhouse
a Learning Garden
a 2,200-gallon water cistern system
an outdoor classroom
a shipping container barn
a chicken coop housing a flock of layers
a dairy goat barn
a bee apiary
a tasting lab/kitchen
Students learn responsibility at Paramount's farm. They care for dairy goats, milking them and tending to their needs daily. The milk from our goats is used for onsite cheese making. Our cheese is sold at four different artisan markets throughout Indianapolis. Students gain a sense of accountability and respect for nature and animals on the farm. The licensed dairy operation is the basis for Paramount’s artisan cheese enterprise.
Dairy Goat and Cheese Making Program is Sponsored by:
Select students will learn the art of beekeeping in our four-hive apiary. Participants become apprentice beekeepers and learn how to manage a hive and harvest honey in the fall, available at our weekly farmer’s market at the school. The incredible world of honeybees is integrated into the classroom curriculum at various grade levels.
At Paramount Brookside, we encourage children to learn from their environment through sensory integration and observation. We want students to touch, see, taste, hear, and smell what they are learning.
Our EcoRoom features a green landscape, a grow wall, large floor planters, a lizard terrarium, a demonstrative beehive, and a butterfly hatchery. Here, students learn about life cycles and growth patterns as they monitor and groom greenhouse plants and practice the growth and release of butterflies.
Paramount Brookside was designated a 2021 US Department of Education National Green Ribbon School. The award focuses on three pillars that our community exemplifies through its culture and educational approach:
Pillar I: Efforts to reduce environmental impact and costs
Pillar II: Improved health and wellness
Pillar III: Effective environmental and sustainable education
A welcoming space for community residents
Paramount Peace Park was conceived when a neglected and overgrown campus area was transformed into an artistic landscape spanning two city blocks. Among the forestry of the park, visitors can view seven large-scale art installations and sculptures at street level or from two elevated observation decks connected by walkways. These walkways are accessible from stairs in a public picnic area or by an ADA-compliant sidewalk that brings visitors past several of the art installations and the school farm.
Students from the STEAM program (see below) and several local volunteers plant native perennials annually to mitigate invasive, exotic species. Efforts to bring back the flora and fauna found along the adjacent Pogue’s Run waterway and throughout the natural areas of Indiana complement our commitment to community engagement and the vitalization of our neighborhood.
For Grades 5-8
Success Through Education, Agriculture, and Mentoring (STEAM)
STEAM is a summer mentoring program that connects students in grades 5-8 with nature. Participants own various farm tasks, learning how pollination works and how ecosystems depend on one another.
Most of the program’s focus is on our food garden. Students sow seeds, nurture their plants to maturity, and harvest food sold at our on-site farmer's market. This process is an invaluable lesson in patience and cause and effect. The STEAM experience gives students a better understanding of where food comes from and respect for the hard work involved in sustainable food production.
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