MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) - There are plans to add a new charter school, with a focus on the outdoors, in Horry County.
The Earthbound Organic Public Charter School would cater to Kindergarten through 8th grade. Based on a emergent curriculum, the school's concept focuses on creating a learning environment that will foster the development of the whole child--physical, cognitive, emotional, social, and perceptual. It would also inspire hands-on learning and a love for the outdoors.
Rachel Carter, a mother, and a member of the Earthbound Organic School steering committee says she and other educators were interested in a school that would offer no limits on learning. Carter says the concept itself is not new, but it would new to Horry County. She says after looking at similar schools, and taking ideas from other charter schools, she and a group of others developed Earthbound Organic School.
"They are in South Carolina, they're just not in Horry County, and it's completely different than what we are used but its child-led, child specific, each child will get what they need in the way they need it," explained Carter.
However, Carter says the school would be child-centered and child-specific. "All of our classrooms will be outside because children learn best, when they are experimenting, having fun, and exploring," said Carter.
The lessons would be encouraged by the children, according to Carter. "Very little teacher guidance, but the teacher will be there to help," Carter explained. "If the kids want to learn about tadpoles that day, the teacher will teach them everything about tadpoles!"
As the students get older, the lessons would be more age appropriate, and would encourage students to enjoy and keep learning for the rest of their lives.
"So as they go into the middle school grades, they'll go into a more inquiry- based learning which is similar to a form of emergent, they are all pretty much the same – just different steps of each," explained Carter.
Currently, the proposed school is waiting for application approval under the South Carolina Public Charter School District. According to Carter, they anticipate opening the doors to the school in May 2018, as it will operate on a year-round schedule.
No location has been decided, pending approval. "We want to have a central location to cater to Surfside Beach, Myrtle Beach, Conway, and other surrounding areas," said Carter.
Carter says in addition to the Public Charter School District funding, the diverse curriculum would qualify the school for outside grants. Carter said, "Most of our classrooms are going to be outside, as much as possible we are going to have butterfly gardens, beehives, vegetable garden, and hopefully a small farm once we get ourselves going, we will be able to get grants to help fund us."
Carter says when it comes to education, parents should have a choice, and she adds this is a school that gives the parents of Horry County another option.
"It's all about choice, you should have a choice in your child's education, whether you live at a high income or a low income, you should have that choice," said Carter. "We need strong public schools, we need strong charter schools, and we need strong private schools."
For more information about the Earthbound Charter School click here.