Volunteers Help Clear Trails in Outdoor Learning Center

Our last post was about how important community partnerships are to our school and our ability to provide interesting and engaging experiences to our students. Today we showcase more volunteers.

These volunteers and generous donations brought workers to our outdoor classroom to clear trails.

Without them we don’t know how or when we would have been able to clear the trails and make best use of the space for our students and their safety. Thank you all!

Learning About Bees & Honey

A local beekeeper made this video for our elementary grade students to learn about how honey is collected from a bee hive. Our community partners, like this awesome beekeeper, are a valuable tool in educating and engaging our students in countless ways. We couldn’t do all that we do with out them. Thank you!

1st Grade Science – Plants!

First graders spent time in one of the many school gardens collected marigold seed. This gardening activity was part of science class where they were learning about what plants need to live and grow. They also were learning about the life cycle of a plant.

Cherokee Culture Part of Outdoor Education

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.”

Tips for Getting Your Kids Off Their Screens

Ms. Emily offers tips for getting your kids of their screens in this time of increased technology use. She offers these tips:

Explore your backyard.

Go fishing.

How about an ant farm or small aquarium?

Use a magnifying glass and binoculars to explore the world.

Go camping in your backyard.

Go for a hike.

Class in the Great Outdoors

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.