K4 Bets on Outdoor Learning


Photo by Luisa Urrea Carvajal

The outdoor classroom under construction near the K5 classrooms. This new classroom is for K4 students to interact with a physical environment.

A new outdoor classroom for K4 students is under construction at the far end of the K5 hallway by The Columbus School maintenance department.

Inspiration for the new outdoor classroom came from The Outdoor Classroom Project, a preschool that emphasizes outdoor activities for children. The purpose of this classroom, expected to be finished by the end of the school year, will provide students an opportunity to learn by themselves.  

“We were inspired by a few things that we saw. There is an outdoor classroom at the Colegio Nueva Granada and from The Outdoors Classroom Project,” Diana Mitchell, Lower Elementary School Vice Principal, said.

This classroom will have different sections that help students understand their surrounding more in depth.

“One section will have actual tools, a saw, hammers and pieces of wood so kids can actually build things like they would in real life.  Another section will have water and different ways to play with it. I think another one would be earth and dirt and a garden,” Mitchell said.

This project takes time to finalize and create, because it hopes students can enjoy an outdoor environment.

“More or less it started 3 months ago, we do not work constantly, we work at times. Additionally, we like everything that the school tells us to do and we do it with care and love,” Maintenance worker, Leonardo Marín said.

The new outdoor classroom takes time to build since its construction is built off and on by the maintenance department.

“We are hoping that it can be done by the end of this calendar year.  Maintenance has been super helpful, they are working so hard on it.  They have brought everything we need for it; but whenever it is ready, I will be happy,” Mitchell said.

The outdoor classroom is meant to increase the quantity, quality and engagement with outdoor experiences for children.

“This will be used so that the kids can develop their abilities with their hands and minds,” Juan Fernando Mesa, Director of TCS General Services, said.

Interactions with different materials and objects influences student’s learning and success since it allows them to experience how things work in a different way, for example how water moves or flows.

“We got ideas for the outdoor classroom from Kodo Kids, such as the outdoors ramps or the pump works,” Mitchell mentioned.

Learning outside can be beneficial for the mind, it helps to become more creative with nature, stimulates different activities and rewards success.

The Outdoor Classroom Project cites, experience in the field and child development research which both show children need and benefit from spending more time outdoor. It is important for their health and future school success.