BY Kristin MacDonald
Oak Ridge School
Our goal for the outdoor classroom is to develop a student-created space which will encourage curiosity, creativity, community, and collaboration. We hope that the space will be a multi-purpose cross-curricular courtyard. This will include science, art, music, as well as a gathering space to build community. Special attention will be given to building a space that meets the sensory needs of our students population.
We are envisioning that there will be an outdoor space for students to gather, a garden for students to interact with, an outdoor eating area, and a mural on the outside walls.
The goal of our class, Exploring the 7C’s, is to have students use critical thinking, collaboration, creativity, community, character, communication, and curiosity. This project will involve the students during all phases, and will benefit the whole student population once complete.
How will the project be evaluated (e.g. how will you gauge its success)
Our school’s greenhouse is located in the vicinity of our planned outdoor classroom, which would help us to integrate the greenhouse into our school design, encouraging more classes to use that space which is currently undeveloped. Our project will be considered successful once the space is being utilized on a consistent basis.
Benefit to the students and the school
The students will benefit from having an addition outdoor space in which to apply their learning. The school will also benefit from having an outdoor classroom. Throughout the project students will benefit from opportunities to connect with community members, participate in improving their school, and an opportunity to express their creativity.
Timeline of Project (when will you do the project, if applicable)
The project will begin this winter with project planning during our 7C’s class time and planting of seeds inside. In the Spring we will develop the land and transplant our plants outside. We plan on this becoming a continuous project that our school community adds to each year as our students’ needs change.