NEW HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH) — A New Haven school is celebrating a new addition. Officials at the Dr. Reginald Mayor Early Childhood School cut the ribbon on a new classroom — a new outdoor classroom.
“We already knew that being outside in the fresh air, learning and playing with your friends was just great for children,” explained Monique Brunson, Principal of the Dr. Reginald Mayo Early Childhood School. “So, we decided let’s work on a safe outdoor space for children.”
Once they had that seed of an idea, they worked with DiMeo construction and the United Way. They built not just a place to sit and learn, but they also added raised plant beds where kids can really get their hands right in the dirt. The United Way knows that is exactly what the three- and four-year-old students here like to do.
“So, any way to create safe spaces for them to be outside and also, in this case, to learn where their food comes from, it’s just a great benefit,” said Jennifer Heath, the President & CEO, United Way of Greater New Haven.
The United Way also brought in plants to start that process. The kids will see flowers and vegetables grow all through here. Of course, they will have fun, too. They say play is the language of children. So, this might look like just fun, but educators know this is how growing minds will learn how things grow.
“So, in class they are learning about plant growth and development, about roots and parts of the plant,” Brunson said. “So, they will be able to extend what’s learned inside of the classroom to the outdoors.”
The outdoor classroom is right out by the street, visible to the whole community. That is no accident. They are actually looking for people in the community who have green thumbs to come in and volunteer with the gardening.