Grade 4 students making their dream a reality with concept of outdoor classroom
REGINA -- A class of grade four students at Milestone School have been tackling a major project this year by turning their idea of an outdoor classroom into a reality.
Rebecca Carson, the grade four teacher, said the idea came from her students when the school year started
“With the pandemic we were supposed to be outside as much as possible and although that’s a great learning opportunity to be outside, our school ground isn’t exactly set up for outdoor learning for long periods of time,” Carson said.
The school ground is essentially a wide open field with no shade or wind protectors and only grass to sit on.
“It’s really itchy when you sit on the grass. And we have an open field so there’s no shade and when you try to look at the board the sun is in your eyes,” Madison McCly, a grade four student, said.
Carson said the students initially came up with the idea of building a gazebo and from there the idea of an outdoor classroom was born.
The outdoor classroom will be an enclosed space with stadium-style seating and a chalk board. The goal is to also complete a paved pathway so that it’s wheelchair accessible.
Since the initial idea was formed, the students have been working on every step to create the classroom.
“We designed what we wanted it to look like, we measured out what our classroom was, we went outside and made a designated area for it,” Carson said. “The students then did research into a variety of different structures to view what would be the best for our school.”
From there, a landscape designer helped them create blueprints for an exact plan.
Once the construction process begins, Carson hopes her students will be able to be involved in that step as well.
The students are learning a variety of skills from the project, helping with grant applications, making phone calls to businesses, presenting to board members and designers and they’ll learn the hands-on skills once construction begins.
Lily Wickstrom, one of the students, said she’s excited for the classroom to be built so they can spend more time outside when the weather permits.
“It’s fun just planning out what we’re going to do in the summer. You want to spend as much time outside as you can in the summer, especially when you’re at school,” she said.
The students do some work on the project every single day.
“I hope they get the sense of pride that you get from being able to say ‘I helped out and I helped build that classroom,’” Carson said.
Once it’s built, the classroom will be available to any class at the school during the day and will also be open for community use outside of school hours.
The class is now in the fundraising process and hopes to raise $60,000 to build the structure by June.
They’ve raised several thousand so far due to support from the local business community, despite their own struggles during the pandemic.
“That support that we’ve gotten from Saskatchewan-owned businesses has been incredible and overwhelming. It’s meant the world to myself and the grade four students,” Carson said.
The school has been holding draws for $1500 raffle baskets each month with items donated from local businesses.
Carson said they’re also looking for local construction companies and concrete companies to partner with the school for the building process.
Any donations for the raffle baskets or other contributions can be made by contacting Milestone School.