What is the Outdoor Classroom?

The Outdoor Classroom is an interior courtyard between Sligo Creek Elementary School and Silver Spring International Middle School that has been transformed into an educational resource for students and teachers. Students, parents, teachers and administrators - working together - have created a natural space for hands-on, practical learning opportunities for students across a wide variety of disciplines, including math, science, literacy and the arts.

The Outdoor classroom is:
  • a beautiful and inspiring space where students spend time with nature;
  • a learning laboratory that allows teachers to turn lesson plans into life lessons about cooperation, discovery and responsibility;
  • a place to explore the environment through wildlife habitat, weather observation, composting, and growing your own food;
  • a source of discovery for students ages 5-14;
  • a new way for parents to engage in their child's education.

The Outdoor Classroom features an 800 square foot conservation garden, planted in April 2013, where native perennials are currently in bloom and hosting countless pollinators for students to study.  In the Spring, grades K – 3 participate in a edible garden project, in which students planted salad fixings, and then celebrated by harvesting the lettuces and radishes and having a big salad party. We secured a grant from Westfield Malls which allowed us to construct a stage in 2015. With assistance from the Tower Companies, we have park benches in front of the stage, which can also function as desks. Tower Companies have helped us plant persimmon trees, part and full shade gardens, provided a large shed and beautiful signs, through generous donations in material and time. We are in the midst of improving the habitat for birds in the Outdoor Classroom, with the addition of a water source and more native bushes and trees, thanks to a grant from Cornell Lab of Ornithology. To complete these exciting projects in the Outdoor Classroom, we need lots of volunteers - we welcome your help, ideas, leadership and people-power!  No experience is necessary. 

 Please contact Monica Nermark if you are interested in getting involved.