PIGGOTT, AR (KAIT) - Piggott Elementary school is taking outdoor learning...outdoors!
Funded through grants and donations, the outdoor classroom at the school is complete with paths and a pavilion. Piggott PACE Coordinator Penny Toombs says the kids love the outdoors environment both for learning and working in the classroom.
The fenced in area, formerly home to a basketball goal is an area where students can come to learn about nature and the life cycle and share in taking care of this special classroom on the outside.
5th grader Sawyer Hendrix said the classroom is important for the younger kids.
Hendrix, "Life is sort of like a plant it grows on and on. So technically, if they plant these then they'll learn how to grow up on themselves. They'll have to go through a process of letting a plant grow and they'll grow into that just like the plants."
Gifted and talented teacher Penny Toombs says this outdoor room beats 4 walls any day.
Toombs, "They get to experience what it's like to design a fountain area to plant bulbs that will come up in the Spring. They actually see what they are learning in the textbooks."
Toombs says the classroom helps with the state science requirements of 20 percent hands on.
Louis Lin, "This is like a little piece of nature. And you can go outside and pick all the weeds and have fun all around."
Besides numerous donations of materials and labor, the classroom was paid for partially by a grant from the Arkansas Game and Fish. And those who hunt and fish illegally and pay fines still help pay for it.
Toombs, "All that fine money goes to the county. In Clay county as that money all comes together you can go and request money for things like this."
Toombs says they can apply for the Game and Fish Grant again next year and they have several plans in mind for expansion. Later on this fall, Ag students will come over and build planters for the grades K - 6 to use.
Carly Benbrook, "It's not just a classroom, it's an outdoor classroom and it's really, really fun. And it's outside and you get a lot of fresh air and it's just really cool."
Toombs says the affect on students who may have had a hard time in the regular classroom is already showing.
Toombs, "This is what they needed. They want to learn, they ask questions. They love to just get out here and learn."