Innovative education in a pandemic era: Belleville Henderson creates outdoor classrooms

ABC50 NOW

Students sitting on stumps for outdoor classroom learning at Belleville Henderson Central School District (photo: BHCSD)

ADAMS, N.Y. (WWTI) — Belleville Henderson Central School District has found new ways for students to learn in a safe, socially distant environment.

Belleville Henderson has announced their creation of seven outdoor classrooms for students.

According to the District, each “classroom” has 15 stumps to use as chairs in an outdoor, socially distanced setting. As the weather allows, students and teachers utilize these spots to work on class assignments, conducts classroom activities or listen to stories. Additionally, white boxes were painted on the grass to help teachers with activites.

BHCSD Second Grade Teacher Deborah Clark shared her gratitude and experience with the classrooms so far.

“Our class loves to go out to the field and play safely in the squares. We play Red Rover, What Time Is It Mr. Fox, and other fun games like Simon Says,” stated Clark. “We also love the logs for story time and share time. We are grateful for spaces that are already socially distanced for us.”

Belleville Henderson’s Technology Instructor Matthew Soluri emphasized how these spaces will allow students to get fresh air during the day.

“After being presented with the idea, it took about a week to make all of the classrooms,” says
Mr. Soluri. “It is exciting to see the teachers and students enjoying the fresh air while learning at
the same time.”

These classrooms were considered to be nothing less than a team effort.

District Superintendent Jane Collins also reflected on the new outdoor classrooms.

“During the COVID-19 Pandemic, we appreciate the support and the donations of the logs to create the outside classrooms,” stated Superintendent Collins. “Teachers are able to bring students outside in the fresh air to conduct learning activities. We thank all those who played a role in this exciting project.”

Belleville Henderson Central School District stated that the logs for the stumps were donated by local residents Kelly and Katie McGrath and District Nurse Karen Bertram. The McGrath’s helped to donate 50 stumps for the classrooms. The outdoor spaces were constructed by the District’s Technology Instructor Matthew Soluri and the custodial staff. Additionally, officially credited Alexandria Central School and Black River Elementary School for helping to brainstorm the concept.

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