Students at Burlington's Sustainability Academy at Lawrence Barnes are getting down to work — outside the school building. The magnet elementary school recently unveiled an outdoor classroom where students can experience hands-on learning in the natural world. It's the first step in transforming the urban school grounds into a little oasis in the Old North End. The new, open-air veranda is fashioned from massive larch logs — rot resistant, incredibly durable and sustainably harvested in Vermont. The result is part classroom, part playground, where kids can pile onto the benches for a lesson or scamper across benches-turned-balance-beams after school. The school's biggest champions say that what might look like a cosmetic upgrade is, in fact, a sign of Barnes' momentum and growing success. "This isn't just a school. It's a model of what change in a school can be," says Chris Sharp, a Burlington High School art teacher who helped design and build the outdoor classroom. "This is the most vibrant change I've ever seen made in a school."
South Burlington, VT
At Wildflowers Studio children play, experiment and tinker in innovative and exciting new ways. We give creative liberty for children to hypothesize and create according to their own developmental level and unique learning style. This promotes personal growth and academic enrichment, expands social skills, problem solving abilities, and motor dexterity.…(more)