2.5 structures for environmental learning
Our outdoor education center is beginning to take shape. In November 2015, we placed 20 cut logs from fallen trees for students and staff and included a cross section of a giant holly tree that was removed during grounds renovation. We have amazing plans for our outdoor classroom as seen in our habitat restoration objective. These plans include planting native shrubs, a garden, and placing signage on all of our plants for more learning opportunities. Just behind the photographer in the photo above are our greenhouse and our tumbler composter. The students have numerous opportunities to play in and interact with this space each day, and those opportunities will increase with the expansion of our outdoor learning center.
Student-Organized Clean Up
On June 8, 2016, the students took an extra step in preserving their outdoor facilities: they organized their own clean up of the school grounds, spending the day outside after school to make their outside environment as clean as possible. The clean up was suggested by one of our kindergarten students and involved the entire SMDS community--parents, students, and teachers. The student's enthusiasm for the project is a great sign of how our environmental curriculum is making an early difference in how they look at their environment.
In addition to decorating our own rain barrels for our school, our students have also helped to decorate our playground and outdoor education center. Some of that artwork, including native wildlife and flowers, can be seen along the fence in the background of the photo above.
Each year, our Kindergarten Class studies native trees in an in-depth Tree Unit. They learn about the different types of trees, draw diagrams, take field trips outside to our school grounds to collect specimens, and make arts and crafts revolving around the tree unit. This is a hands-on unit that occurs as much outdoors as indoors. The students learn about the different types of trees, why leaves change color, and how trees benefit us in many ways.