Golden Lake Elementary Outdoor Classroom




Through Home Depot’s Grant Program, the supplies and labor were provided for no cost to the school. The structure was built in the spring of 2016 and the school hosted the “Grand Opening” of the classroom in October of 2016. Since then, phase two has also been completed. This phase was comprised of two parts: landscaping and staff development. The landscaping consists of native plants and trees that offer a multi-sensory aspect. This means that students can not only look at the vegetation, but also smell, touch, and feel. The landscape design was provided at no cost through a parent of a GLE student. The supplies were paid for by the GLE PTA. The teaching staff has also undergone staff development training. This training was provided by the Jeffers Foundation at no cost to the school. The focus of the training was how to effectively use outdoor classrooms and spaces. Golden Lake’s grounds lead to many opportunities. The property sits next to a trail system built by the county and the Rice Creek Water Shed. Classrooms use these trails and bodies of water for nature walks, observations, and scientific experiments. Grade levels have aligned activities to the state science standards. This provides students with many opportunities they may not have outside of school or outside of the classroom. The next steps for GLE’s outdoor initiative are to build an amphitheater area for larger presentations (set to be completed in April by High School Seniors on “Service Day”), establish a community garden, and continue with staff development. Golden Lake Elementary’s Outdoor Classroom represents what collaboration and partnership can build. Minnesota is an amazing state with so many educational and life-long learning opportunities outside our doors each and every day. GLE students love going to our outdoor classroom.