Outdoor Classroom

Branch School students working on Outdoor Classroom project

Branch School students searching for wildflowers as seen in Native American Seed Company catalogs

Because of our focus on developing native habitats, our Outdoor Classroom does a lot of selecting and planting native prairie wildflower seeds and transplanting seedlings.  Now that spring has come, our efforts have started to blossom around campus!

This leads to two fun activities:  our Preschool classes (PK3 and PK4) hunt to see how many different colors and varieties of flowers we can find on the playground.  The children learn to point at rather than pick the flowers, since they are food for some of our smaller campus citizens.  At present, we can easily find over a dozen different species, and we also enjoyed repeating the hunt after a month to see what changes were evident.

The older elementary classes use Native American Seed Company catalogs (provided free by the company!) for a similar activity.  Each student uses his or her catalog to identify the wildflowers.  We have about half a dozen now in bloom from seeds purchased from the company, and each discovery leads to intense discussions about flower shape, exact colors and their location, and sometimes leaf shapes and colors.  The older students in particular seem impressed to discover that these humble flowers that grow so readily all over, are important enough to have a place in a published catalog!