Did you know that research and experience has shown that a change in scenery and a breath of fresh air can reduce stress and improve mood? Additionally, research shows that learning outdoors, in any academic subject, and even using a typical (indoor) classroom routine, can provide benefits to students such as increases in motivation, engagement and restoring depleted attention and focus. All of these help contribute to a positive learning experience for students, and I would love to provide this opportunity for our students at Georgetown Middle High School.
GMHS does not have a dedicated outdoor learning space for academic classes. We do not have an appropriate outdoor workspace that is conducive to student learning, collaboration or discussion(2) and therefore the benefits of fresh air and a change of scenery conflict with our educational objectives when we take our students outside for class on occasion.
A designated outdoor classroom would benefit the GMHS school community with increased morale and student engagement and therefore student learning.
1) Research article /data:
Kuo M, Browning MHEM and Penner ML (2018) Do Lessons in Nature Boost Subsequent Classroom Engagement? Refueling Students in Flight
2) Current options for GMHS classes to be held outside (excluding PE) are:
~sitting on grass or turf ( cold & damp or hot & wet), cement steps, or sidewalk.
~ students usually spread out in a long line so they can comfortably sit up against a wall, bleacher etc
~students balancing materials on their laps
~continuous traffic and/or PE classes providing distraction
~ lack of shade ( leads to sunburn, unbearable heat, squinting ( headaches) and overall discomfort
~ blocked for a 2 hour window due to lunch at school
~lack of wifi
Funded by Georgetown, MA (April 2022)