Lincoln Community (Outdoor) School
Last June, after our Lincoln Community School had existed remotely for about three months, educators gathered for professional collaboration at the end of the year. One of the questions we discussed was, “What are we most afraid of as we anticipate opening school in the fall?” The prevailing fear was that we wouldn’t apply what we had learned during our remote days. One of our responses to that fear was to figure out how we could move school outdoors as much as possible: to play and learn in our beautiful place.
Teachers researched and planned over the summer. In what ways could teaching and learning happen outside at different grade levels? We agreed that each grade band (K-2, 3-4, and 5-6) would have a designated area outdoors to make their own and to care for.
Here is some of what we created: The youngest students had extended play and exploration, morning circle and math outdoors. The third and fourth graders moved their classrooms into a new pavilion and had all but 30 minutes of computer-based learning outdoors from September through December. The fifth and sixth graders created their learning communities and read and discussed books in their outdoor classrooms which they created with handmade benches, tables, and Fire Warden-approved fire pits.
In October, we realized it would be great to document our outdoor experiences. We hired filmmaker Stowe Miller to do so. Stowe filmed on campus and on an all-school hike on Willard Jackson’s land—now under the town of Lincoln’s stewardship. He created a nine-minute video which captures many aspects of our Lincoln Community (Outdoor) School.