Outdoor Learning Environment

Enhancing the learning experience for the students at MSPCS

MSPCS’ Outdoor Learning Environment (OLE)

An outdoor learning environment is as essential to a child’s development as their classroom or indoor learning environment. We have transformed our Preschool’s outdoor play space into an OLE (Outdoor Learning Environment). The OLE enhances the learning experience of the students at MSPCS. In 2016, the Miami Shores Community Alliance awarded MSPCS a $500 grant to begin what was Phase I of the OLE, our butterfly garden. Since then, we have put together a great team of volunteers who exchange their expertise and enthusiasm and we are already into Phase III o the OLE. Presently, we have 12 people on the OLE Committee and the members include MSPCS teachers, parents, butterfly/nature enthusiasts, and a Boy Scout!

THE HISTORY OF OUR OLE
November 19, 2016 – Present

 

PHASE I:  Butterfly Garden on South Playground

 

On Saturday, November 19, 2016, the OLE Committee, along with a few volunteers, planted a butterfly garden as part of an Eagle Scout Service Project. The garden has beautified the playground as well created a place for students to witness the wonders of a caterpillar’s metamorphosis into a butterfly. The butterfly garden also attracts other insects, which provides students an opportunity to observe the interactions in nature.

 

Constructing an open-air educational space serves as a focal point for the vigorous development of the whole child. We are grateful and to everyone who has come together to make this OLE vision a reality. Proceeds from our Annual Pumpkin Patch were earmarked to help fund the development of the OLE and the Parent Association has generously chipped in as well!

 

 

PHASE II:  Plant a Seed of Kindness Mural Project

 

The next phase was of our OLE was our Plant a Seed of Kindness Mural. Design and painting of the mural were donated by Miki Foged, a parent at our school and local artist. On April 30, 2017 we joined as a school and community to finish the mural and bring our vision of a community mural alive.

PHASE III:  Edible Garden Beds

 

On Monday, November 6, 2017 we entered Phase III – our PK3 classes planted two edible gardens!

``The playground was a dry and barren place, and Miami Shores Presbyterian Church Preschool Director Catherine Woods was determined to change that. She wanted her students to leave their classrooms and enter into a magical realm, where caterpillars turn into jewels that open to unleash nectar-sipping butterflies into the world. She knew that their experience in the natural world was at least as important as what they learned in the classroom. She applied for a butterfly garden grant and held her dream close to her heart. She won the grant and connected with Bound by Beauty.``

Mary Benton

Read more about what Mary Benton, Founder and President of Bound by Beauty, had to say about our butterfly garden here.

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