Maryland River School

A creative learning environment incorporating nature

Come learn with us!

Maryland River School is a K-8 public charter school serving youth in the Washington D.C. and surrounding metropolitan areas.
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Reason Number One: Our school is welcoming.

The students at MRS are from all over the city and metropolitan area. Our students are selected through a lottery process; each section of the city is allotted a certain number of tickets, based on income, and other factors. The majority of the school consist of students would be considered to be in need of financial assistance. Our school provides buses and transportation for the students

Reason Number Two: Our setup is designed for learning.

MRS has about six hundred to seven hundred students. Our school is split into levels of grades, based off of Montessori style (pre-k through kindergarten, first through third, fourth through sixth, and seventh and eighth). There are also two to three classrooms for every grade level and two teachers for every grade level. There are not be any individual desks, instead there are tables which the children rotate through throughout the year. There is a heavy focus and encouragement towards nature themed decorations, and arranging classrooms so that as much of the outdoors is brought in as possible.

Reason Number Three: Our Curriculum is Unique

Our students spend their mornings learning traditional subjects and their afternoons focused on nature and the outdoors. Tuesday and Thursday afternoons are spent focusing entirely on sciences and critical reading and writing about the environment and ecology. Mondays, Wednesdays, and Friday afternoons are used as “exploration time” where students have a short lesson or activity having to do with nature and have the rest of the afternoon to discover and explore outdoors while thinking about these topics. There will a brief reflection at the end of these afternoons.

Reason Number Four: Our Graduates Are Critical Thinkers

The graduates of our school are able to discuss and write about the complexity and meaning in nature. They also have a strong knowledge of environmental science and ecology, specifically in the eco systems closest to their homes. They also are able to comprehend the importance of a connection with nature and the mental and physical benefits of time spent outdoors. MRS is a public charter school so it follows state standards, but the school has have very focused goals of leadership, creativity, and appreciation of nature.

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Our Philosophy

Maryland River School strives to educate our students through a combination of standardized and non-traditional learning. We accomplish this by making sure our students are taught the state standards for education as well as engaged in creative outdoors curriculum. This way our students are prepared for school after MRS but they are also better leaders, critical thinkers, and are more appreciative of their environment.

We draw many of our philosophies from educational philosophers. We have developed four principles of guidance for our students

1. Students will be exposed to diversity within their own student body. This is the best way to teach acceptance and tolerance, especially if as Tatum says you have not experienced it before

“Many of us grew up in neighborhoods where we had limited opportunities to interact with people different from our own families” (Tatum, 3).

2. Teaching does not always imply learning. However "teaching implies learning" (Noddings, 48) if it is combined with creativity and experience for children. We firmly believe in experiential learning designed for every child.

3. Education will be designed for life after MRS and not just academically. We believe educations expands further than academics.

“schools were fragile institutions in the colonial world, existing alongside older and more familiar agencies of education, the family and the church” (Rury, 31)

4. Education will be used as a tool for positive change.

that “We need public talk that links education to a more decent, thoughtful, open society” (Rose 31)


I loved this project. Designing a school and curriculum has always been one of my goals so being able to finish off the semester with this felt great. I have struggled with school my entire life, and have always dreamed of being able to educate myself within a more creative environment that incorporates my favorite learning environment; the outdoors. Thank you Becky for this class, it is the first time in a long time that I have felt smart and accomplished.