We are hoping that this entire space will inspire our more kinesthetic learners to absorb more of the lesson. Kinesthetic learners need to move their bodies in order to learn. Sometimes, these learners are labeled as “fidgety” and their behavior is misinterpreted as distracted or bored; however, this movement is simply them trying to process the information in the most effective possible way. This outdoor classroom space allows them to learn through doing and equips teachers with another tool to aide in reaching their students.
The current outdoor classroom consists of a beautiful paver patio and some
octagonal picnic tables. In phase one, we will be adding shade sails over the existing patio space to offer some respite from the sun on those hot August days. A transparent chalkboard will be constructed for teachers to write their lessons on. Three standing experiment desks will also be constructed to live in the space just beyond the seat wall for those lessons that require a little more investigation. We will be adding ten-frames, number lines, and a US map to the adjacent concrete to complement that space.
An additional outdoor classroom will be defined by landscaping. This green space can provide inspiration for many cross-curriculum uses: keeping a journal of the area flora, measuring tree heights and diameters, sketching the landscape, learning history of early settlers, or even just reading a book. A sensory garden will surround this space and will be able to host a myriad of lessons: from the five senses in kindergarten to mapping topography and the watershed in fifth grade. A 95-gallon water barrel will also be installed in order to water our perennial in-ground plants and teach sustainability.
This area will be two convertible benches, surrounded by a custom pergola. This space will be a refuge for kids who are struggling with behavior, have medical conditions that prevent them from participating in recess, or just need a space to practice mindfulness.
Two raised garden beds will be constructed out of cedar and outfitted with an automatic irrigation system in order to take the maintenance out of growing food. Children will be able to plant, maintain, and harvest this food for consumption or donation.
A large magnet wall will be installed and be circled with stump seats. Magnetic ramps, chutes, and tubes can teach elementary students all about force, motion, and gravity. Magnetic gears, letters, and numbers can all be used for this wall.
A dual-use sign will be installed, backed with interactive elements about weather and a matching game that can be modified based on the subject being taught. Balance scales and standing desks will be located in this space for children to explore different topics.