Every year at about this time the HS students in the stage craft class find a way to make our campus just a little bit more user-friendly. As a way of supporting our community this year the HS students are addressing a K1/K2 need for more nature-based outdoor learning and play spaces. Much research has shown that interaction with such spaces connects children to the outdoors, develops an appreciation for nature, stimulates creativity, enhances collaboration, increases mindfulness, increases enjoyment and develops positive attitudes toward people and planet.
The project has involved conversations with the students, teachers and administration, including brainstorming, a visit to the elementary school to observe the young students in their natural state of play and planning a nature-based, outdoor space that supports their growth and learning. It has also involved a good amount of research pertaining to natural play areas including examples of such spaces around the world. What is taking shape is a larger space that includes a "mud kitchen" where our younger (and not so young?) community members can, literally, get their hands dirty. Nothing a hand wash can't get rid of before heading back to class, though. :-)
If last year's Maze garden is any indicator we have great things to look forward to as the project moves forward. HS students have already been spotted outside the K1/K2 classrooms, setting up the new space. With some feedback from our younger students the space is sure to provide great opportunities for individual and collective growth!
All great stuff!