Learning in the Great Outdoors

A plan to involve students to spruce up underused areas on the Moorestown Friends School campus resulted in a wonderful new learning space created during the 2014-15 school year.

Art Teacher Michael Webster conceived and sketched the idea for an Outdoor Classroom, nestled in the wooded area just outside the Field House. Throughout the school year, students raked the area, removed ivy, made benches and a platform, and marked out a pathway, which is still under construction.

Once the classroom is fully constructed, it will be available for all teachers to use. The outdoor space offers an opportunity to enjoy nature, the weather, and a respite from a typical classroom setting.

“Any academic discipline can use the Outdoor Classroom, and it doesn’t need to be just for lectures,” said Upper School Dean Mike Brunswick, who supervised much of the student work.  “The benches are not stationary and can be moved to make whatever configuration works best for a class and teachers can also use it as a staging space for activities in the Community Garden (adjacent to the Outdoor Classroom).”

In addition to the outdoor work that took place,  students painted a mural inside the Greenleaf Building for Summer Scholars students to enjoy. The building is the primary home for Summer Scholars courses  The muralists used a variety of art techniques, removed wall paper, and primed and spackled walls before starting their creation.

Photo: LS/MS Quaker Education Coordinator Melissa McCourt with fifth grade students in the Outdoor Classroom.