Rita and Adam J. Weiner and Family Outdoor Classroom

Completed in the spring of 2015, the Rita and Adam J. Weiner and Family Outdoor Classroom, one of the first Certified Nature Explore Classrooms in Boston, has been a magnificent extension of the playground-adjacent space at the school. This expansive outdoor area is a dynamic, nature-rich learning environment where children are encouraged to thoughtfully explore their natural surroundings both during class and at play.

Spending time outdoors brings a sense of wonder and joy to children and helps to foster imagination, creativity and powers of observation, as well as promote a positive environmental ethic. It has been powerful to witness our children designing, planning, creating, observing, engineering and learning together through the vehicle of nature. 

Through active, hands-on learning, students being to develop an awareness of the interconnectedness of all living things. In the Grow area, there is an organic sensory garden where the children experience textures and smells by planting, harvesting and using various herbs such as mint and chives. They experience sounds by listening to birds and observing bees and other insects that buzz about the flower plants. 

The Discover area contains a digging pit with a "mud kitchen." Here, the children can mix delightful concoctions using found objects, such as leaves, acorns and crabapples, and search for hidden treasures such as earthworms. In the Groove section, children use their imagination to create music on a large wooden marimba and dance and act out stories inspired by nature on the natural stage. 

The Pump area boasts a bright green water pump where children engage in water play. They can carry the water to the other areas or use various materials likes pipes and gutters to experiment with the physical properties of water. In the Construct area, children create large structures using heavy blocks, sticks and tree cookies. Their pirate ships, grocery stores and rockets not only provide dramatic play opportunities, but the designing, engineering and cooperation necessary to complete each project foster many additional skills. 

This classrooms has truly transformed our urban school setting into a peaceful oasis in the middle of the city.