Outdoor Classroom Now Open!

By Willa McGrath
March 05, 2020

An outdoor classroom at Floris ES has been on the agenda for quite some time and, between developing the plans, scheduling with facilities management, and construction, it has been quite a process! However, we are now happy to announce that as of Monday, March 2nd, 2020, our outdoor classroom is now complete and open!  Just in time for the warmer weather and blossoms that springtime brings, this space will serve as a potential location for any type of lesson and for all grade levels.

The inaugural lesson occurred on Monday afternoon when Ms. McMonigle and Ms. Drinko led their 5th and 1st grade classes, respectively, outside to participate in their reading buddies activities.  The students thoroughly enjoyed the natural setting provided by the outdoor classroom, as well as the larger, more open space that it offered them. It served as a great location for the larger group gathering, allowing for better opportunities for collaboration. 

In recent years, there has been much written about the numerous benefits of using outdoor classrooms to enhance school experiences.  Some of these include social-emotional advantages afforded by the more collaborative space, such as effective relationship building, in a cooperative, non-competitive environment and manifesting classroom harmony.  Furthermore, as collaborative group projects are more feasible, research has shown stronger language, problem-solving, and communication skills in students that utilize an outdoor classroom. From a health standpoint, outdoor classrooms have been linked to lower blood pressure rates and increased immune function.   Finally, engaging in lessons in an outdoor classroom helps to build stewardship skills for the environment and familiarity with and appreciation of nature.

Spring 2020 will surely see more lessons migrating to the beautiful outdoor space. Although it will provide a great setting for Science activities and meetings of our Floris Green Team, all sorts of lessons would benefit from the “take it outside” approach.  Stay tuned to hear about how our outdoor classroom will continue to change the landscape of learning here at Floris!