Learning thrives in Hill Elementary Outdoor Classroom

Hill Elementary is dedicated to providing opportunities for children to interact with and enjoy the natural environment surrounding their school. Planning for the outdoor classroom project began in 2012 with idea sharing between some interested members of the Hill PTA and Hill staff.  With a lot of planning and dedication from so many people it grew into the beautiful outdoor space it is today!  To ensure the best for our students Hill PTA and staff worked with Nature Explore (a collaborative project of the Arbor Day Foundation) to create a Certified Nature Explore Outdoor Classroom at Hill Elementary.  The project was dedicated in the spring of 2015 and has been put to good use since!   

The Nature Explore Outdoor Classroom incorporates ideas from staff, parents and volunteers at Hill Elementary including providing distinct activity areas to provide a variety of experiences.  There are gathering spaces for groups, open spaces for movement, a walking path, climbing areas, building areas, art spaces, music spaces and a messy materials space for children to be messy with nature.  Students take an active role in planting by attending weekend work days and by gardening with their classes or clubs after school. The students’ favorite spaces are the raised planting boxes and the exploring boxes where students can search and find artifacts from nature!  Each year students plant seeds and small vegetable plants that they are able to care for and harvest!  

Each year staff from Hill work together to expand the opportunities for students to experience the outdoor classroom and to promote this positive learning experience for students. Teachers provide students with the opportunity to use the outdoor classroom by making connections to the elementary curriculum and by using the outdoor classroom more generally as a space for learning.  

Thank you to all who support this space by volunteering your time and talents to maintain and make improvements each year!  The outdoor classroom space is a source of pride for Hill and the surrounding neighborhood community.