How to design an outdoor classroom

Over the summer, we will be moving into our new school building. That means that we will have lots of work to do up-fitting the new space inside and out. For our school, having an outdoor classroom is a critical part of our curriculum. 

Joe, from West Depot Architecture, has been working with the students to design the new outdoor classroom. They started with a design charrette to define the project and to brainstorm ideas. First, they took a walk up to the new property so that they could see how the land slopes, which parts are in shade and how big the space is. Next, Joe led the kids in a brainstorming session. The kids talked about things that they liked in current outdoor classroom and some new things that they would like to incorporate. After they came up with a list of ideas, the students split into groups to do some research. Their task was to find and present examples of different components such as fencing, seating, an outdoor “bakery” kitchen and garden beds.

Next week, Joe will lead them in the final stage of design. They will draw a proposed plan for the outdoor classroom. Over the summer, we will be busy making that plan a reality. I can’t wait!