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Outdoor Learning

posted Feb 28, 2015, 10:21 AM by Red Rock

Ms. Frovold (4th grade teacher) and Mrs. Morris (1st grade teacher) proposed an idea for an outdoor learning facility here at Red Rock.   First, they provided us with a background of how the idea came about.  They explained that because Mrs. Donnelly (K teacher) won an award last year, the school had an opportunity to apply for a $100K grant. The grant proposal that was put together was for an outdoor learning facility.  The school didn't get the grant, but the teachers that were involved in the process haven't given up on the idea to make it happen. The problem lies in that the proposal was a "pie in the sky" idea based on a large amount of funds available. Now, with questionable funds available, the proposal has had to basically be rewritten back to the "grass roots" idea. This would be an outdoor learning area equipped with a sustainable "classroom". There would also be a need of equipment like compasses, butterfly nets, etc.  To bring the idea to fulfillment, they will need parent support.   At this point they are most interested in forming a parent committee that would be willing to help plan and implement the project.  They are also looking for parents who have connections within the community that may be able to help with grant writing and supplying donations.  The teachers understand that with the looming budget cuts, the timing is not great.  However, because of the benefits for our students, they are still pursuing it.  It would also be a positive thing for the school and students to focus on.  Here is a brief summary of the benefits outdoor learning provides:

A designated outdoor learning center can enhance the value of classroom learning. Researchers reference outdoor learning as helping develop active citizens and future stewards of the environment. Research supports outdoor learning spaces crediting them for increased student engagement, improved achievements and attendance, improved attitudes, and stimulated creativity. Studies show that outdoor learning can help tremendously improve student’s personal, emotional, and social wellbeing. Many parents feel there is a great need in our school community for our children to “unplug” from technology and get back to the basics. This means, learning and playing outside.

If you are interested in being on the committee or being involved with the project, please contact, Kim Macynski (PTO president), ckmacynski@comcast.net.  Thank you.

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