Learning in nature


Head Start creates outdoor classroom

By Ciara Conley - cconley@civitasmedia.com



The current “playground,” for the Wayne Hills Head Start students, which will soon be turned into an outdoor activity center, designed to enrich education outside the classroom.


Submitted Photo | Deanna Roberts

When it comes to going above and beyond for the sake of students and education, teacher Deanna Roberts has done just that.

Recently, the Scioto County Community Action Organization (CAO) opened a new Head Start classroom located within the community office of Wayne Hills.

Head Start is an early-childhood learning center program designed to assist low-income families. Head Start aims to prepare students for a classroom setting and, like the name suggests, gives them a head-start on learning important concepts necessary for school integration.

So far, the Wayne Hills location has one classroom where Roberts has twenty students between ages three and five.

The Housing Authority has planned to build a playground located within Wayne Hills, so the students can have activities during their recess time, but that will take some time to construct.

As of now, the students only have an empty fenced in lawn for a play area. Roberts, seeing the need, stepped in to create an outdoor classroom for her students.

“Right now, that plain grassy area is all they have outside and they do have a playground in the works but in the mean time, I just wanted more for my students,” said Roberts. “I want to make it interesting and I wanted to make it so we didn’t have to carry out toys and things every single time. I want to give them something to look forward to, when I asked my supervisor if I could transform the space, she said yes.”

Roberts proposed an idea to create an outdoor classroom, which features a series of activity centers, each designed to enrich education in an outdoor setting.

In the proposal for the ‘classroom,’ Roberts cites the many benefits of outdoor classrooms, like, “studies of children in school yards found that children engage in more creative forms of play in green areas. They also played more cooperatively. Play in nature is especially important for developing capacities for creativity, problem-solving and intellectual enrichment.”

Roberts said that they have already started working on creating centers for the space, like an abacus wall, where students can use wiffle balls attached to the fence to count and sort by color. They have also ordered a sand table for the students. In the future, Roberts hopes to implement other centers like a block area, a walking path and a music wall. Roberts said her students will play an integral role in deciding what stations are created, so that they can have activities specifically suited for their interests. The centers are designed to change as students grow and learn new things, so they will also be evolving.

The current “playground,” for the Wayne Hills Head Start students, which will soon be turned into an outdoor activity center, designed to enrich education outside the classroom.
http://portsmouth-dailytimes.aimmedianetwork.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/28/2017/01/web1_IMG_0040201713117331833.jpgThe current “playground,” for the Wayne Hills Head Start students, which will soon be turned into an outdoor activity center, designed to enrich education outside the classroom. Submitted Photo | Deanna Roberts
Head Start creates outdoor classroom

By Ciara Conley

cconley@civitasmedia.com

Reach Ciara Conley at 740-981-6977, Facebook “Ciara Conley – Daily Times,” and Twitter @PDT_Ciara.

Reach Ciara Conley at 740-981-6977, Facebook “Ciara Conley - Daily Times,” and Twitter @PDT_Ciara.