What’s Right With Our Schools: OLPH Nature Explorer Outdoor Classroom
Chattanooga, TN (WDEF) – Children are natural explorers. Pairing classroom lessons with what they can see and touch in the outside world is a key to understanding. OLPH has just the space for that.
Dr. Caroline Carlin is the Principal.
She proclaims, “Welcome to OLPH’s Nature Explorer Outdoor Classroom. It is a certified outdoor classroom which was designed to be able to create a space where our students in pre-K through three to grade 8 to get in touch with nature, but also to draw a connection and comparison with the content that they are learning in the school building. So, this place helps them by giving them tangible experiences to be able to foster relationships with each other. Which is really the key components of a quality education.”
Sixth grader Diego Lopez adds, “I just think like it is neat. It makes me want to learn more about it.”
Sixth grader Ona Disz chips in, “It helps you, but there is like so many things to focus on sometimes it might get a little difficult.”
Principal Carlin explains, “This isn’t just a one dimensional space. We have a Music outdoor music area. We have a stage to be able to perform. Each classroom has its own individual bed which throughout the year they get to decide and determine what they are going to plant and watch grow. We have a messy materials area which helps our students just to be able to be creative in their space. We’ve got another Weather Station in the back which is one of our newest additions through a TV grant.
She continues, “Our the station allows us to make connections with local agencies. Particularly like WDEF’s Danielle Moss and they have access to our own 0LPH app which students, families, and community members can all use in real time.”
Middle School Teacher Tom Campbell says, “We got the Weather Station from a group called Weather Link, and we go through their webpage, and they have an app that you can just choose OLPH weather. and you can get the weather right here in natures place. It’s fun! It’s going to be a great teaching tool.”
Principal Carlin concludes. “This area as well as our weather station is always starting with the teachers. The teachers here at OLPH are constantly putting the students at the front of their minds. And they are innovation to be able to go after this TV a grant; trying to bring it here close to home. It is something that we are very proud of here and we couldn’t do it without them. I hope as they all do is our mission at OLPH is to create confident lifelong learners. And so everything we do we hope that they are able to see what they are learning in the classroom. And to be able to connect it to real life. So our weather station equipment is just like the equipment that the pros use and they are able to see the data in real time and to use the mass skills that they are developing here and to be able to see them long-term.”