Opening Opportunities with an Outdoor Learning Environment
Every detail matters in the formative years for kids. If you’re reading this blog, you’re probably proactive and exploratory in finding positive and beneficial educational opportunities. As for many out-of-the-box thinkers, the idea of an out-of-the-building classroom has clear learning benefits—through curricular, environmental, and social adjustments. Zoom Recreation is a team passionate about creating areas where little ones can flourish; let’s go explore some tips and inspiration for getting started on your outdoor learning classrooms.
Planning Your Outdoor Learning Environment
Looking into outdoor learning environments for COVID-19 health and safety reasons is a great plan. Numerous health officials and resources have stated that outdoor circulation is a better option than indoor circulation in regard to minimizing the spread of COVID-19. Through social distancing, safety shields, and sanitation efforts, an outdoor classroom can provide a great in-person learning environment that minimizes health and safety risks associated with the virus.
Here are a few considerations when planning where to develop an outdoor classroom.
You’ll of course want everyone to stay comfortable and cool throughout the duration of a class. Consider what nearby trees, buildings, and other elements that may produce shade. For a properly shaded area, you may want to look into commercial shade structures.
Additionally, depending on the purposes of the classroom, you may need some sunny spots to grow plants and engage in other learning opportunities where that may be beneficial.
Square footage will naturally play a role in where your outdoor classroom is located. Take into account how many classrooms you’ll need, how many students per class, and how far apart they should be distanced—with physical distancing related to COVID-19 in mind.
In picking a location, be mindful of nearby amenities. Consider restrooms, eating areas, and other facilities such as a library that students may need to access on a regular basis. Pick a spot that has convenient access to these amenities while also offering a great spot for learning.
During the planning stages of developing an outdoor classroom, it’s important to factor in the layout of the area. For example, will the seating arrangement be in a traditional classroom layout where all the seats face the instructor, or would a more open layout that benefits discussion and activities be more appropriate?
You may also want to include designated areas for activities and experiments if there’s a need. Think of opportunities such as breaking out into groups and individual reading times—keeping in mind how a layout may affect these learning moments.
Below are a few options that will help your outdoor learning classrooms be effective and productive.
Tables and Benches
Depending on the type of learning environment you’d like to achieve, you can furnish the area with tables or benches. Tables are great for group activities and using the tabletop surface for tasks. Benches are great for class collaboration and activities that may not need a tabletop. These products offer options for any learning environment
Shade structures of course keep students out of the sun for long periods of time, but they also make an area appealing and attractive. For a classroom with no walls, shade structures add functionality to a focused area perfect for investing in the next generation.
As we’ve all come to learn, COVID-19 is a virus that is transmitted through droplets in the air. Much like the shields you see at the grocery store and at other businesses, safety shields are a great addition to outdoor learning environments given our current climate. This helps control air circulation, playing a role in minimizing the spread of COVID-19.
Equip Your Outdoor Classroom
Contact Zoom Recreation to Get Started
Providing the equipment you need and the solutions to get you there, Zoom Recreation is a team ready to help you make your outdoor learning classrooms a reality. Help with your project from the planning stages, to supplying the equipment, to installation, Zoom Recreation is Southern California’s trusted play amenities company.
We’d love to hear from you! Give us a call at 866-234-3392 or get in touch with us by filling out our contact form.
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