At PS3 Bedford Village School, the learning experience for students is rich, deep, organic, and evergreen.
As part of their “Rainforest Environmental Study”, art and science programs facilitated by the school’s Art-in-Education partners, Orchestra of St. Luke’s and The Rainforest Alliance with grants from the Independence Community Foundation and other funding organizations, have
created paper rainforest ecosystems throughout the schools. In one hallway, branches created from brown paper bag twists hang from the ceiling; tall cardboard canisters double as tree trunks; on another floor, the sounds of the rainforest, as composed, performed and recorded by the students, are a tranquil, comforting surprise.
And in another, students, under the guidance of their instructor, perform their choreography of the rain and waterfall experience which is danced to classical chamber music: Vivaldi’s Four Seasons.
The aim of these kinds of “green” projects, said parent coordinator Atasha Johnson, “is to connect our students with conservation, and to create a setting where they can think creatively, express themselves effectively and learn without barriers.” She said, “parents, administrators and faculty have a role in this.” And at Bedford Village, Stephen Mohney, has an even higher role in environmental studies. He coordinates the art programs for the school, and has been affiliated with P.S.3 for more than 25 years. With principal Beecher, he and other art and science teachers – has found a way to pique the students’ imaginations; they even take planting projects home to work on them with their parents.
Mohney who, as a teenager lived in Ghana for two years, and now heads a Tech4ghana project designed to close the digital divide in the country. He shared, “My years of living and regular travel to Africa propelled my concern for environmental stewardship.”
All of Bedford Village’s teachers bring their unique positive experiences to the classroom as the students journey to become citizens of the earth: “It’s all about education; it’s a bit of an abstraction to imagine the planet as it was and might be, for future generations, if we don’t mend out destructive ways.”