The Outdoor Classroom
The Mary Hurd Academy is a small public alternative school that
serves 33 high need students in grades 6 through 12. Students who attend
the school face a variety of challenges that make traditional schooling
very difficult for them to be successful in. Hurd Academy staff members
strive to teach essential skills such as problem-solving and collaboration while working with students to learn content necessary for our 21st-century world.
Our project is to develop an Outdoor Classroom, a non-traditional, fun, effective context for learning. This project will provide students a wide variety of experiential learning opportunities designed to help students learn the skills that they need to be successful at school and work. The area will include a multi-tiered balance beam with many problem solving and trust game possibilities, a “flea hop,” and a landscaped multi-use initiative area with materials for games including “Island Hopping” and “Charlotte’s Web”. ” We will also construct a briefing / debriefing area consisting of eight small benches permanently mounted in a in a circle for students to sit and talk before or after participating in our adventure based, life skill lessons.
The Awesome Funds invested in our project would have longstanding impact on our community. Students will construct the site from planning to building. We will use materials with long life expectancy and we expect the area to be serving our students for at least twenty years. The neighboring North Berwick Elementary School and local Scouts will have access to the area, impacting hundreds more students annually. Additionally, funding our request would serve as the foundation for a bigger project that will consist of a high-level ropes challenge course with several different obstacles. Our outdoor classroom will be our foothold from which to show positive results and from which we will make an even more “Awesome” learning area.
Funded by Boston, MA (December 2016)