Students at The Learning Center Charter School are outside a portion of each school day. The school has an official screened room dubbed The Outdoor Learning Center as well as numerous gardens and trails.
Students regularly can be found doing art, reading, learning science, participating in PE, learning math, gardening, or having recess outdoors.
“Having our students outside is just what we’ve always done,” said Shelley Farmer, physical education staff and STEM coordinator at the school. STEM stands for science, technology, engineering, and math.
“Our campus sits right near the river and Cherokee elders have told us that it would have been prized Cherokee land,” said Farmer. “That in addition to the Cherokee people and culture so prevalent in our region, we make it a point to study the tribe, their language, culture, and traditions each school year.”
Farmer added that students are learning new Cherokee words each week. Students recently learned that osiyo means hello in Cherokee.
The school also includes traditional crafts in their studies. Students recently made Dream Catchers from natural materials found around the school’s Outdoor Learning Center.
“Being outside engages students by providing a living environment to observe, discover, experiment, nurture, and learn,” said Farmer. “Layering on the culture of the Cherokee Nation enriches those experiences.”
Kindergarten students spend a portion of their in-class school days rotating around classroom “centers.” These “centers” have learning activities and hands-on fun things to do that keeps the students interested in learning. If you ask a kindergarten student what they think of centers, they will undoubtedly tell you the love them!
As a family member or friend of a student at our school, you may wonder how education is being delivered remotely on the days that your student is not on campus. Our teachers are using many methods including videos. This is just one example! Here, Ms. Emily does a short ten minute lesson for first graders on living things as part of science.
You already know that The Learning Center Charter School values art in all forms as an important component education. We have always offered chorus, visual arts, and dramatic arts opportunities to our students. This year, as we operate A & B schedules as well as a fully remote option, we still have art!
Ms. Kelly is providing virtual art lessons for all Kindergarten through eighth grade students.
These photos are examples of the first lesson for the school year which taught how fun it it to use lines. Ms. Kelly asked students to create a scribble and fill it in with colored lines in any patters they liked. This introductory lesson allowed students an easy way to use lines at home with any medium they had available!
Mr. Sean has some tips to help keep your kids active during this time of increased dependence on technology. Plus, as the weather starts to cool, it’s easy for kids to stay inside on their screens. Use these tips to keep those kids moving, burn off excess energy, and keep an active lifestyle!
Our nutrition program offers fresh fruits and vegetables daily. Plus, because garden based learning is a core component of our curriculum, our students tend to fruits, vegetables, and flowers in and among our many campus gardens. We’ve found over the years that this combination encourages our students to try new foods and eat well.
Students at The Learning Center Charter School are accustomed to being outside during the school day because teachers use the outdoors as an extension of the classroom as often as possible.
“Learning outdoors is a cornerstone of our educational philosophy,” said Ryan Bender, head of school. He added that the great outdoors provides the perfect setting for all subjects. “Most people will tell you that being outside is the perfect place for teaching a science lesson. And, they are right! But, the outdoors is also hugely beneficial when teaching reading, social studies, math, and art.”
According to National Wildlife Federation, American Institutes of Research, and the Sierra Club, when children are taught in the outdoors, better test scores, higher grade point averages, decreased behavior problems, and improved health are the result.
“We have an Outdoor Learning Center at our school that is a screened classroom,” said Bender. In addition to the classroom, classes also meet around the fire pit, among the school’s many gardens, and along the trails around the school.