Outdoor “Play is the highest form of Research”

Jan 31, 2024 | Grants, Our Stories

Outdoor “Play is the highest form of Research” (Albert Einstein)

The Outdoor Classroom NEEF grant, implemented at Northwood Elementary, has become a popular spot for K-5 students to learn and have fun. Quite a few students live in apartments and don’t have easy access to green space to play and explore other than at school.

Students like Lily Alt, a fifth-grader, enjoy interacting with their younger peers. Lily loves the sand table and “hanging out with the kids” even more. One of those kids, first grader Madeline Wolff, enjoys playing in the sandbox and the mud kitchen, where she can “make stuff.”

The outdoor classroom has not only provided a fun environment for the students, but it has also helped them learn social-emotional skills like sharing and observing the science of nature. Eva Adams can be found “cooking” in the kitchen area; several girls and boys assist her. Pretend food preparation has taught them valuable lessons, like physics and basic science. The students collaborate and bounce ideas off each other, finding new ways to use the outdoor classroom.

Kindergarten teacher and grant applicant Carrie Knapp emphasizes the importance of play by quoting Albert Einstein: “Play is the highest form of research.”

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