The Nature Explore Classroom at
Carrollton School of the Sacred Heart
I will share with you the story I shared with my students when we inaugurated our outdoor classroom.
Miami is a city where many people spend lots of time outdoors. Even in the thick of the heat during months, August and September, you will find Miamians enjoying the outdoors. It is not any different at Carrollton.
On any given day you will see students outside enjoying our two campuses. We are very fortunate that we are in the heart of Coconut Grove, which is a beautiful and very picturesque part of Miami. While growing up, my father used to grow staghorn ferns in our backyard. They grow to be very large and weigh on tree trunks which they hang onto for dear life. As a child, I remember he would then cut pieces out of the fern and share them with friends and family. They easily attach to new trees and continue growing. You could detach many smaller “pups” out of one large staghorn plant.
A few years ago, my dad died, his staghorn ferns were moved to a few places, and we have a few of his large staghorn ferns in our backyard. One of them fell because the oak tree could not hold the weight any longer. It needed a new home! I tried to bring it to our school’s oak, but it was too dangerous to hang, so I asked our schools’ groundskeeper to help me break apart the individual plants and take out pieces to make it smaller like my dad use to do when I was young. When I got back to school after the weekend, everywhere I looked I saw pieces of my father’s staghorn. He had placed pieces on every tree and everywhere on our campus. Places where I could see my dad’s plants.
I love the outdoors and believe that children’s imaginations and creativity thrive when spending time outside. So when the idea of the Outdoor Classroom was introduced, I knew that our oak tree, surrounded by all of my father’s staghorn, had found the perfect place to live. Thankfully, we have a few very generous families and our Head Master who is always so open to helping us make our dreams a reality. And then the magic began! We assembled a team of teachers, parents, and administrators who worked with the Nature Explore team. The installers and landscapers all worked together to make this dream come to fruition. The space is surrounded by love–love of nature and love for each other. It is a beautiful space that all can enjoy today!
3747 Main Highway
Coconut Grove, FL 33133