What makes a good place for an outdoor classroom? What do you need to make it successful? Below we talk through 4 things to look for when you are considering spaces to your as outdoor classrooms. They are important factors that when combined create some amazing environments for students to learn.
As the saying goes “location, location, location”. This is the same for teaching spaces. Does the area have good access so all students can get there? Is the area right next to another class indoors? Does this area echo and is it going to cause disruption to other classes? Is this space close to classrooms so teachers have the option of having half the class outside and half inside?
There are so many reasons why you chose the location of an outdoor classroom, however, the proximity to other classes, ease of access, and location within the school are all key considerations.
We have a saying in our office, you can never have enough shade in a design in Queensland. We have amazing weather but it is hot and sunny or hot and raining for a large portion of the year. I don’t know of anyone who likes to sit in the sun for hours. So, shelter and shade to ensure students are comfortable while learning is important.
Having versatile in teaching spaces allows for teaching areas to be changed to suit the class and lesson for the day. This versatility could come in the type of furniture in each space. It could be a variety of different size spaces. Spaces where a whole class could sit together. Or small groups can work near each other. Whatever it is being able to change a space to suit the lesson or having different spaces for different lessons is important.
Do your teachers need tools to use when teaching? Do they need a chalkboard, tables, whiteboards? We have done a blog post recently on tools teachers might need to make outdoor teaching easier under $100. There are many options with tools for outdoor teaching. Does each teacher need a trolley they can wheel to the locations? Does each student need a carry bag for supplies? Do you need power or water at the location? Different subjects and teaching styles are going to require different tools and equipment. Getting teachers to think and talk about ways they could use existing resources and then what might be available is a big aspect of success. These tools don’t need to be expensive. What resources do you have on the school grounds you can reuse?
There are four things you need to consider when looking for an outdoor classroom. If you are still struggling to see how things might work, we are happy to come and look at your school or kindy to help you. Contact us to arrange an appointment.