Temple Beth Emet’s Early Childhood Center and K-8 School have made an exciting announcement on Earth Day 2023 – they have received the Florida Green Schools’ Green Apple designation from the Florida Department of Environmental Protection, making them the first Jewish Green School in Florida.
The Green School program recognizes schools that are dedicated to preserving and protecting the natural resources of the state by continuously enhancing environmental performance in various areas of operation, including communication and education, waste reduction and recycling, water conservation, energy efficiency, and air quality.
The Beth Emet Tevah (Green) Team Leader, Leaha Perl, expressed her pride in working with the TBE community to create a better and greener tomorrow. The school has plans to incorporate sustainability into the curriculum, nature programming, staff development, community partnerships, landscaping, waste management, water and electricity reduction, and more. With the Green Apple designation, the school has taken the first step towards its vision.
Over the past year, the Beth Emet schools have added more nature studies classes, introduced a “loose parts” and recyclable collection program to promote sustainable art projects, created a new butterfly/pollinator garden, and participated in community beach clean-ups. The next project on their list is to break ground on a children’s garden where students can learn, play, and connect with nature.
George Zamora, a Beth Emet Schools parent and Tevah Team member, believes that the Green School designation aligns with his family’s values, and he is proud that the school is fostering a greener environment for all.
Robin Sheridan, Director of the Beth Emet Early Childhood Center, understands the impact attending a green school can have on children’s development. “Involving children in nature experiences not only provides great learning and joy, but it also builds a love and connection to the outside world that they can carry with them throughout their lives. We hope this will not only enrich their time in our school but also inspire them to create a more sustainable environment for their future.”