Students and plants grow together at new outdoor learning center
Published - 05/23/15 - 08:00 AM | 3850 views | 0 0 comments | 23 23 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Students help plant a tree at the new outdoor learning center.
Students help plant a tree at the new outdoor learning center.
St. Paul’s Lutheran School of Pacific Beach dedicated its recently built outdoor learning center on May 6 with students in preschool through eighth grade planting vegetable seeds, fruit trees, and pollinator plants. The students also took home vegetable and flower seeds to plant in their own garden.

Throughout the day of planting, students learned through hands-on, inquiry-based learning. Second graders found aphids while pruning an apricot tree, thus learning about the intricate web of life and the interconnectedness of nature. Fifth graders used their math skills to lay out corn seeds in a raised planter bed.

Eighth graders used group problem-solving skills as they designed a pollinator bed. Kindergarteners used their sense of smell and touch as they learned about basil and cilantro.

The outdoor learning center, at 1376 Felspar St., allows students to learn through multiple learning styles including those with a more experiential approach to thrive. Students learn how the food they eat grows and are more likely to eat vegetables that they nurtured, thus improving nutrition.

Teachers at St. Paul's Lutheran plan to utilize the center as an essential resource in teaching the Common Core State Standards (CCSS). The new outdoor classroom is a rich and meaningful place that will allow students to observe, explore, describe, and ponder. This space will provide engaging, real-world application in the skills students are learning in English language arts, mathematics, and science.

It is an opportunity for children to build on their interpersonal and cooperative skills, as well as, increase their self-understanding. Physical activity and exposure to the benefits of clean eating (fruits and vegetables) can teach healthy, life-long habits.

St. Paul’s Parent Assistance League conceived the idea for the center and raised the money to fund its design, construction, and growth throughout the years. Several benches are located in the outdoor learning center for those who want to reflect, pray or simply enjoy the tranquil environment.

Christy Powell, mother of three students and a full-time horticulturist with the San Diego Zoo, donated her time selecting the plants and vegetation for the center, educating the students about their interconnection, and working the ground alongside the students on the dedication day.

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