Schools with Great Outdoor Spaces

Adding an outdoor classroom to your school is a great way to connect children with nature as well as encourage interactive, hands-on learning. Even small spaces can accommodate a classroom garden or outdoor STEM center. Before planning an outdoor space for your school, get some inspiration by checking out these schools that have successfully implemented outdoor classrooms. Each space allows educators and students to explore concepts such as teamwork, cooperative learning, nutrition, fitness, dramatic play and much more.

Trinity Elementary School, in Franklin, Tennessee, turned an unused outdoor space into a 3-station outdoor classroom where children can engage in collaborative learning and dramatic play. There's greenhouse and garden where children grow and tend to a variety of vegetables, a sound wall constructed from an old pallet that hosts a variety of outdoor musical instruments like bells, maracas and other noise-makers, and a play area with tricycles, a balance beam, and activity table for collaborative lessons and STEM activities. Learn more about Trinity Elementary School's outdoor classroom here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HOa4Zt1zJJc

Central Elementary School, in South Berwick, Maine, completely transformed the open field behind their facility in an effort to incorporate the outdoors in both lessons and play. With a little assistance from a local landscape architect, students and faculty now have access to a garden for growing flowers and vegetables, a compost bin, outdoor amphitheater, water garden, log walk and more. Much of the produce grown in the outdoor classroom is used in the school cafeteria. Read about Central Elementary School's outdoor classroom creation from start to finish at: http://cesgarden.blogspot.com/

Creating an outdoor classroom can take considerable time and effort, no matter the size of your space. Sources of inspiration, like other schools and facilities that have successfully transformed an outdoor space, are invaluable resources when deciding what equipment to purchase.

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