As educators, we all have one main goal for each of our students. We want them to grow into and actualize their best self.
We want to challenge students to do difficult things, and use their imaginations to be creative and to solve problems. We want them to learn to work well together, help, guide, and effectively communicate with one another. We want them to fulfill their responsibility to themselves, their classmates, and their community. We want to empower them with the sense of efficacy that comes when they realize that their hard work makes a difference.
The Outdoor Classroom gives innumerable opportunities for children to develop and grow in just the ways described above. Careful attention has been paid to designing a space with water wise and native plants that attract birds and pollinators.
The butterfly garden, with plants that attract butterflies for egg laying, will provide students the opportunity to observe the butterfly life cycle. A 1st grade orchard garden will have an espaliered apple and pear tree to keep the fruit within reach of the students. Students will be able to observe the life cycle of trees and plants throughout the seasons, learn about pollinators, their important job and our dependence on them for our food supply. Students will also be exploring non-toxic methods of protecting fruit from pests.
There's a Native American medicine wheel garden to learn about medicinal plants and herbs. There's also an area planned for learning about soil, composting, and microorganisms. And by no coincidence, the fragrance garden is right nearby. Landscape art, wall murals, bird feeders, bird baths, pavers, wind chimes and a bat house are also included in the plan.
Becoming experts in and stewards of their garden not only provides students with authentic learning opportunities to hone important lifelong skills, but also cultivates an awareness and appreciation for our environment, resource conservation, and nature's need for our care.
If you would like yours to be a tax deductible charitable donation, a receipt and tax ID can be provided if you give or send a check directly to:
Indian Hills PTA