Construction starts on outdoor classroom at John Harris Elementary


SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) – On Tuesday, officials broke ground on the John Harris Elementary School’s new outdoor classroom. With it, they’re hoping not only to open a new space to learn but also possibilities to grow.

The anticipation is building toward John Harris Elementary’s new outdoor classroom.

“It’s a perfect opportunity for kids to have a different space to learn. We know that kids learn in all different environments and so this is just another opportunity for them to explore,” Instructional Coordinator Cynthia Breen said.

After months of applying for grants and fundraising, Cynthia Breen and Stefanie Hage are finally seeing progress. Knocking down the walls of a traditional learning environment and opening up the possibilities.

“At the current time, we’re looking for all K through 5 students to be able to access that space as well as our specialists,” Librarian Stefanie Hage said.

The layout of the classroom is designed to be more immersive. Having sitting walls that will make the students feel more involved. The class doesn’t sit far from playground equipment, but they have plans in place so kids won’t be distracted.

“We are putting in some landscaping that we’ve been told will kind of buffer that noise element,” Hage said.

There will be rotating schedules that allow all students and teachers to have use of the space.
It also creates more room to be socially distant.

“We will follow what ever the district tells us. They are still in the process of figuring out what exactly that will look like in the fall. Once we know, we will impliment whatever they tell us about how many kids can be on the area at a time or how close they can sit together,” Breen said.

A space that aims to show them that, walls or no walls, when it come to learning, there are no boundaries.

“I think it will just be a spot that will become a focus for all of them to love and grow,” Breen said.

They say the classroom will be completed in 2 to 3 weeks. To keep up on its progress, you can follow the school’s Facebook page.

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