The extensive garden at Franciscan Montessori Earth School in Southeast Portland will be tended by students, who will be following safety protocols. (Courtesy Franciscan Montessori Earth School)
The extensive garden at Franciscan Montessori Earth School in Southeast Portland will be tended by students, who will be following safety protocols. (Courtesy Franciscan Montessori Earth School)

Though most Franciscan Montessori Earth School students will be engaged in online learning this fall, some will have the opportunity to spend time in nature and help those in need.

The youngest students, ages 2 through 6, will be in classrooms, but the school has found an innovative way to allow some older students of the Southeast Portland school to also safely spend time on campus, while maintaining portions of the school’s extensive gardening and outdoor curriculum.

For the last several years the school has created a microeconomy that includes selling produce to parents and donating fresh produce to the hungry in the area.

The program, done safely with social distancing and other safety protocols, will be in place this year. Middle school students will follow their ongoing program of garden harvests, produce sales and donations.

“In a time when opportunities for hands-on work and public service are limited, we are proud of both our students’ and our staff’s efforts to continue to make this possible,” school leaders said in a press release.