Princeton Montessori Students Garner Attention of Distinguished University Professor

A group of Princeton Montessori elementary students received unexpected accolades from Rattan Lal, University Professor of Soil Science at Ohio State University and President of the International Union of Soil Science. Professor Lal was quoted in a December 2017 New York Times article titled, “Soil Power! The Dirty Way to a Green Planet.” The students read the article as part of their study of climate change and then wrote letters to Lal and other contributing experts to discuss the article’s impact.

“This week, the students discovered what it feels like to be in conversation with experts on the global stage,” said Eliza Hammer, Environmental Education teacher at Princeton Montessori School. “Once the emotions of surprise and delight faded away, they were left feeling exhilarated and empowered by Professor Lal’s response.”

In their letters, the students shared what they’ve been learning about soil and the carbon cycle and what they’re doing to make a difference in the fight against climate change. This includes planting vegetables in the school garden, growing plants hydroponically, and celebrating School Spirit Day with a “Soil Matters” theme, among others.

Professor Lal responded by praising the students for their efforts and gave them further suggestions for managing soil health in the future, including: composting, protecting earthworms, and mulching with straw and leaves. He also sent each student a blow-up globe depicting the world soil map and included a copy of the book “The Soil Will Save Us,” by Kristin Ohlson.

Princeton Montessori School, founded in 1968, is an independent, coeducational day school dedicated to the highest quality education of children, from infancy through middle school, according to the values and principles of the Montessori philosophy. The school is accredited at the highest level by the American Montessori Society (AMS) and is a member of the National Association of Independent Schools (NAIS).

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