We have all been there, back during our school days, trapped inside a classroom, forced to listen to the teacher drone on as a beautiful day passed by outside.
Staff and PTA members South Range Elementary School seemed to be in full agreement on that matter, which is why on Sunday, Oct 1, volunteers and students started to work together to help produce an outdoor classroom on the fields of the school that allows students to partake in great weather while teachers still have the change to educate.
Mike Lawrence, a parent with a daughter in fifth grade and a son in second grade at the school, was one of the original visionaries for this idea. While working with fellow South Range parents like PTA President Kim DeFeo, Lawrence recalled how several near schools in the area had already produced similar “classrooms”, leading to their group adapting the same idea.
Thus, more than seventy five volunteers, including some local businesses and landscapers, arrived last weekend to help bring the idea to life, donating plants and tools to the effort, which Lawrence seemed very appreciative of.
“It’s really nice to see local businesses help out”, Lawrence noted.
So as not to keep it bare bones and actually giving the area some life and a feel of creativity, like traditional classrooms, the area would be surrounded by plants, flowerbeds and an assortment of trees that would bloom more fully in the coming spring.
Furthermore, a walkway up to the area was introduced, along with painted tree trunks that would serve as seats for students. Finally, Lawrence noted the PTA is also currently applying for a grant that would give them the funds to procure a canopy for the classroom.
“We look at this as a space that will hopefully grow”, Lawrence stated.
But, considering the setting, Lawrence and other PTA members will naturally hope to use this new learning environment to focus on educating students on the natural world that surrounds them, from the different species of plants and flowers that make up the gardens in the classroom to the life spans and other details of the animals that inhabit the surrounding forest.
Members are also hoping to potentially get the Derry Garden Club involved with the use of the area and possibly even find some use for it during the winter months.