Pillow Academy Elementary staff and students have a new outdoor garden and classroom! The name selected for the new classroom is “Mustang Meadow“. This classroom was designed to enhance the elementary curriculum and goals with hands-on learning. The Mustang Meadow is located behind PA’s Johnson Hall.
The idea of Mustang Meadow was inspired by the success of the science STEM program. Teachers and families wanted to expand the hands-on approach to learning to other areas of the curriculum. The idea developed into an outdoor learning environment – a place where teachers could do activities with their students outside in a beautiful setting.
Many people have generously donated their time and talents to the making of Mustang Meadow. The raised beds were built by Wilkes Meek for his Eagle Scout project. Parents, grandparents and friends have contributed in different ways to make this garden and classroom a success.
Numerous studies, including one from the Department of Education, have found that outdoor classrooms provide significant student gains in social studies, science, language arts, and math. Outdoor classrooms foster hands-on, inquiry-based learning; stimulate student brain development; result in critical thinking skills, imagination and creativity; and foster the use of systems thinking, emphasizing the interconnectedness of all things. In an age when technology reigns and students frequently look at screens, an outdoor classroom gets children outside and learning in a natural environment.
From the students’ vantage point, this addition to our campus allows students the opportunity to be outside, to see food and flowers growing from seeds, to literally get their hand dirty. It is a calm and peaceful location for PA students to learn and to grow.