The International Journal of Ecopsychology (IJE)


Environmental stewardship is an integral aspect of the Montessori curriculum. It usually includes care of the school’s setting (classrooms, grounds, gardens, eating areas, etc.) and, depending on each school’s unique situation, ideally extends into the larger environment in which the school is situated. During the 2014-15 school year, our class of Middle School students at Montessori Hale O Keiki (MHOK) were asked to select community service projects that were directly relevant to environmental and/or ecological issues on Maui. For our students, Coral Watch was the perfect project through which to integrate marine science, environmental stewardship, and community service. Through a downloadable “do-it-yourself” kit, our Middle School divers learned a simple method to “quantify bleaching and monitor coral health” (Coral Watch, 2015) by measuring small fluctuations in the color of healthy coral—key to identifying abnormal changes. Using an underwater slate, our student divers matched the color of a randomly selected coral with the colors on the slate and assigned a corresponding number. Later, back in the classroom, they uploaded this information to an online database where it was analyzed by scientists in Australia for information on coral bleaching and recovery patterns.


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