We respectfully ask you to consider the following –
A rain barrel to collect water for raised bed use,
Raised garden supplies (for 3 raised beds) and cold frames (3)
A picnic table(or 2) for students to use for journal writing and group work,
A water feature,
Binoculars, reference materials for student use,
A fence that encloses the area between the two wings of the building,
Enhancing Our Schoolyard Habitat for Learning
The impact of school grounds/community projects
In the past decade, the benefits of connecting to nature have been well documented in numerous scientific research studies and publications. Collectively, this body of research shows that children’s social, psychological, academic and physical health is positively impacted when they have daily contact with nature. Positive impacts
include the following:*
* Selected excerpts from Children and Nature Network (www.
childrenandnature.org/research/), Annotated Bibliographies of
Research and Studies, Volumes 1 and 2 (2007).
• Supports multiple development domains. Nature is important to children’s development in every major way—intellectually, emotionally, socially, spiritually and physically (Kellert, 2005). School grounds/community projects have the capacity to link with all curriculum areas. Two specific examples of benefits stemming from this are positive gains in science process skills and improved understanding of design and technology-related issues.
• Improves academic performance. Studies in the US show that schools that use outdoor classrooms and other forms of nature-based experiential education support significant student gains in social studies, science, language arts, and math. Students in outdoor science programs improved their science testing scores by 27% (American Institutes for Research, 2005).
• Reduces Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) symptoms. Contact with the natural world can significantly reduce symptoms of attention deficit disorder in children as
young as five years old (Kuo and Taylor, 2004).
Proposal: Create an outdoor learning environment that is community based, child centered, as well as, environmentally friendly and low maintenance.
Our projects have been designed to be completed in multiple phases.
Students and teachers will maintain the project areas.
Create learning space that supports lessons that correlate to the Core Standards.
This will a create habitat for birds, butterflies, and insects, as well as, native weeds for students to study and learn from. We will enhance the space with some vegetation, birdhouses, and feeders. The hallway in the building provides window access to this area for student observation. Students, community, and possibly, high school students will be involved with building feeders and birdhouses.
Maintenance: Teachers and students will maintain (community assistance in the summer and during the school year also)
Phase Two: (To be implemented as soon as approved) Create a composting component into snack or lunch routine.
Students will be taught what can and cannot be put into compost.
Each grade level will have a compost bucket.
Students will put composting items into bucket after snack or after their lunch is completed.
On the way to recess students will empty the bucket into the compost bin and leave their bucket by the bin.
Second grade will bring in the buckets, rinse the buckets, and deliver them to designated location for the next day.
Possible variation – Second graders can take all buckets out to compost bin at their recess time.
Maintenance: Teachers and students will maintain
Phase Three: (To be implemented in the spring of 2015) Create raised bed gardens. One raised bed garden for each grade level to use to fit their curriculum. (See Diagram 2)
Maintenance: We will work with custodial staff to place gardens so they are not intrusive. Teachers and students and community members will maintain.
Phase Four: (To be implemented spring of 2015 or fall of 2015) A perennial garden in the front of Rockwell that would enhance the area around Payton’s tree. Our vision is to create a garden that celebrates our students.
Maintenance: Teachers and students and community will maintain.
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