Tuesday, May 13, 2008

The Outdoor Classroom

Another post inspired by lovely folks on Twitter:

@rjleaman posted a tweet with a link to @thedublab's brilliant blog post about Outdoor Classrooms, an inspirational idea, which I hope will really catch everyone's imagination.

Not only do schools (and the environment) benefit from outdoor classrooms; there is a positive effect on the wider community too:

"Beyond the school, the construction of an outdoor classroom also benefits community members by providing opportunities to increase their environmental awareness and knowledge, while offering additional means of participation in both their child’s education and local environmental stewardship."

There has even been a positive effect on the level of vandalism:

"To date, no vandalism or disturbance of either the nursery beds or the native wildflower landscaping has occurred. This is significant, given that the schoolgrounds receive considerable traffic after hours and have experienced defacement and destruction of property in the past."

Tree nurseries, native wildflower beds and proposed contructed wetlands are all fantastic places to encourage the interest of children and their familes in nurturing the environment. Such wonderful learning spaces benefit everyone and this idea really excites me!

Youngest Daughter is a keen gardener, helps out at a local farm at weekends and during school holidays and is thinking about studying horticulture/agriculture at college. I know she would love something like this at her school and am pretty sure the school would be up for it, so I will print off Dave Riddell's post and take it in.

I know myself the benefits of gardening, from mental and spiritual health benefits to the benefits of physical exercise and fresh air, the ability to eat better food (while saving money) and the feelgood factor of doing something positive for the environment.

The benefits are phenomenal, the possibilities are endless ... an outdoor classroom would be such a treasure in any community. I hope you take this idea and run with it.

With thanks to Dave Riddell and best wishes for continued success. May there soon be many, many thriving Outdoor Classrooms!


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