We are excited to welcome students back this Fall 2020 to a safe, healthy outdoor environment that nourishes both their body and mind.
The Texas Trees Foundation Cool Schools team has been busy all summer constructing and implementing outdoor learning areas that are being installed at six schools in the Dallas Independent School District, and J.B. Little Elementary School in Arlington, Texas, in preparation of the Fall 2020 school year.
Some features include limestone block seating, chalkboards, shell stone display tables, fallen logs, soil viewers, weather stations, musical instruments and art easels.
Currently, all schools have been prepped, excavated and received their seating and tables. The outdoor learning areas are projected to be completed by the end of August, right before students return to class.
In addition to installing colorful musical instruments at Ireland Elementary, the team has been designing and constructing labyrinths at three of the Cool School campuses: Frank Guzick Elementary, Reinhardt Elementary and Arturo Salazar Elementary.
Labyrinths can come in many forms and serve various purposes. However, each of those being constructed are meandering. Unlike a maze, there is only one starting point and the path will take you eventually to the center.
For the social/emotional aspect of the learning area, many school staff chose to include a labyrinth to serve as a calm, safe space for students. As a group, students can walk the labyrinth to set intentions for the year or reflect on a topic. It can also be used for meditative walking or alone time during PE, class and recess.
A school counselor can bring a student or small group to the labyrinth for conflict resolution, emotional control, stress reduction, mindfulness practice or a variety of other self-care measures. It also serves to beautify the campus and offers another reason to be outside.
We are excited to welcome students back this Fall 2020 to a safe, healthy outdoor environment that nourishes both their body and mind. Click here to learn more about the importance of outdoor learning and child development.