Stories of Meaningful Change


Stories from the Community Foundation of Greater Flint.

Exploring Nature While Learning

Melissa Lane, left, in the outdoor classroom with Fenton committee members Greg Krueger, Edward Walterhouse, and Sheila Petty.

Students at North Road Elementary in Fenton are experiencing learning in a new way in their outdoor classroom. Sensory gardens, science stations, and exploratory spaces make learning interesting and fun.

"We are creating an outdoor space where children can explore and create collaboratively with their peers," explained Melissa Lane, principal. "The space provides teachers with an outdoor environment to provide students with hands on experiences related to the content standards they teach."

Lane said that many of the students attending North Road Elementary live in apartments and lack backyard space to explore nature. Teachers will embed outdoor learning in their lesson planning, and students can explore literacy, math and science concepts during unstructured play.

Parents and school staff helped with the project, volunteering on the site design and construction. Grant funding supported the Outlast Cascade water play station, sun shades, an arched entry, raised garden beds, an outdoor seating area and a wooden platform for dramatic play and performance. The project was funded by a $9,100 grant from the Florence Michelson Fund and the Richard A. Beardsley Memorial Fund.