CES partners with PALS, plans outdoor classroom
Crestline Elementary School has entered into a partnership with Alabama Pals for the first time to look for new ways to be a “green” campus.
The school has decided to install an outdoor classroom as one way to support the commitment. Science teacher Barb Helton has volunteered to direct the project.
“Our goal is to develop a fun and safe outdoor learning environment where students can learn about Alabama’s natural resources and wildlife habitats,” Helton said. “Students will learn about conservation, through a cross-circular approach that incorporates a hands-on, inquiry-based activities that meet Alabama Common Core Standards.
“The Wildlife Federation sent representatives to our school to help develop a blueprint of the classroom,” she added. “It will be located in our courtyard between the buildings. Learning stations planned include a frog and toad habitat, sensory garden, aquatic study area, compost area, butterfly garden, and weather station. In addition, we would love to build a pavilion. It would allow teachers to have students understand that science is everywhere. We want students to explore it and experience it firsthand.”
“We’ve just started raising funds and hope to get started with construction right away,” Helton said. “We want the classroom to be ready for use by next school year.”
Helton has proposed selling recycled art objects as a fundraiser and students are collecting paper and aluminum cans to be recycled and used for different projects in the outdoor classroom. Proceeds from can sales will be used to purchase bird seed and mealworms.
First through fourth grade students recently listened to a 30-minute video presentation to understand more about the new ‘green’ projects. Afterward, they shared ideas on how they could help keep their school and community cleaner.
Students were also told of a “Take Action for a Cleaner Alabama” poster and essay contest later in the year. The winner will receive $250.
“In our partnership with PALS, we will promote Clean Campus education,” Helton said. “We will have days where students will go out and pick up litter and they are already recycling used paper products and aluminum cans. This gives them ownership of the program.”