The Central Virginian

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Sunshine lights this Louisa elementary classroom

Posted on Thursday, April 20, 2017 at 8:00 am

Sometimes, the best learning doesn’t take place inside the four walls of a classroom, but instead happens in the great outdoors.

A new outdoor classroom at Moss-Nuckols Elementary School is expected to open up the world to students of that school. The space is the first certified outdoor classroom in the state.

It is there that students can hop along the main pathway on colorful stepping stones, build forts, learn about the weather and the watershed, climb, build,  dig, draw, make their own music and even perform in the stage area.

“The possibilities for how it can be used are endless already, and this is only the beginning,” Principal Tiffany Chatman said. “We really do think students need the opportunity to learn  through experiencing those hands-on opportunities like that, that’s where the real learning happens.”

Lauren Wade, the school’s art teacher, serves as leader of the Opportunity to Learn Correlate, a group of eight teachers who worked on the project.

Plans for the outdoor classroom began in 2015 with a sketched rendering, but it wasn’t long before they realized more was needed. While researching the project, they stumbled across The Nature Explore Group, which partners with the Arbor Day Foundation and Dimensions Education Group.

Nature Explore had already done the research, and had an entire package of design, faculty training and product suggestions to complete the space.

“Their research fully supports our initiatives for this space,” she said.

The outdoor classroom is the only one of its kind in Louisa County, but other school leaders have expressed an interest in duplicating what’s going on at Moss-Nuckols, Chatman said.

To read the entire story, see the April 20 edition of the Central Virginian.