Imagining Our Outdoor Classroom

Imagining Our Outdoor Classroom

St. Paul School of Northern Lights

Summer 2019

We invited families to join us during a series of workshops this summer to think about how we can transform our outdoor learning spaces. We posed some initial questions while exploring the space, meeting new friends, playing, creating, and working together. 

What does an outdoor classroom look like?

It has no walls, just plants and vines.

It might have trees, a treehouse classroom!

We need things to play on and climb.

Normally desks are inside but not outside!

It has no roof.

We need water.

Sticks and a stream.

There are places to sit with shelter like a hut or a cave.

It maybe has solar panels.

What will we do there?

Climb and run.

Grow plants and  some food.

It’s a place to play, learn, and have fun!

It’s a place for lots of running.

Build forts.

Watch animals climb in their own space.

Where’s the compost bin?

We need chickens.

Play with water.

Who will use the space?

Kids and teachers.

Birds. We need a bird area with a feeder, a bird bath, birdhouses, and there’s a tree!

Animals and kids use this space.

We found something dead, something that lived here.

There are ants and bees.

We want to invite friends!

In addition to providing us with great ideas for transforming our outdoor classroom, the children’s responses affirm what we believe to be true about children:

They are curious and creative

They need to move their bodies and work with their hands

They need opportunities for physical challenge

They explore with all of their senses

They have an innate desire to figure out how things work

They look for connections with each other and with other living beings

They learn through play

They are capable human beings with ideas, thoughts, and opinions of their own

“It’s a place to play, learn, and have fun!”