In collaboration with community volunteers and students from the University of Vermont, Malletts Bay School will construct an outdoor classroom on April 21.
Nature deficit disorder, a hypothesis developed by journalist Richard Louv, ascribes a host of childhood physical and emotional maladies to chronic disconnection from nature, including attention disorders, rising obesity, depression and others. By providing an outdoor space in which students can learn, organizers hope to create a healthier community for Colchester’s current and future children.
“Outdoor classrooms address these issues through establishing a holistic connection to nature, providing young students with a healthy, natural environment in which they can learn and grow much more effectively,” said Jason Marchand, a senior in the UVM Rubenstein School of Environment and Natural Resources and a project consultant on the outdoor classroom project. “Studies show that schools that used outdoor classrooms and other forms of nature-based experiential education saw significant gains in social studies, science, language arts and math.”
MBS students have been actively involved in the project’s ongoing planning and design, providing input and submitting proposals for the outdoor classroom’s architecture.
Project organizers seek volunteers to help build the classroom from 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. on April 21, and they also welcome donations of building materials and equipment. Those interested in volunteering may visit http://tinyurl.com/MBSOutdoorClassroom or contact Colleen Whitcomb at firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions.
“We believe that experiential learning in an outdoor classroom can only complement the curriculum-based teaching that occurs within the confines of a traditional classroom,” said Marchand. “We hope to provide these students with the necessary space to reap the benefits of learning in an outdoor setting, as well as to provide them with the opportunity to change the way they look at education.”
This project speaks directly to the Colchester School District Vision and Strategic Plan 2012–2017’s emphasis on High Standards, Expectations, and Individual Engagement for All Learners; Learning Outside Our Four Walls; Parent, Community, and School Partnerships Among Lifelong Learners; and Wellness-Oriented, Balanced, and Healthy Learners.
For more information, please call MBS at (802) 264-5900.
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