Ranson Adds Outdoor Classroom

Ranson Adds Outdoor Classroom
Posted on 09/23/2019
RANSON, W.Va. -- Students at Ranson Elementary School (RES) are getting a different perspective on learning, thanks to a partnership with Engineers Without Borders International, a non-profit organization that assisted with creating an outdoor classroom on the school’s campus.
               A former teacher and member of Engineers Without Borders International Jim Jenkins said they created a classroom at North Jefferson Elementary School (NJE) last year and are excited about the community support.
               “We started with 12 benches as a simple way for kids to have classroom space,” Jenkins said. “The City of Ranson donated the limestone boulders and walnut logs, so it’s a lot of community support.”
               Jenkins said the outdoor learning space also boasts a butterfly garden made possible through a grant, as well as bluebird houses made by students at NJE, a teaching platform, and outdoor musical instruments.
               Technical Director and co-founder of Engineers without Borders International Roger Ethier said the space is especially important for schools in cities such as RES.
               “Kids are learning everywhere and all the time, and when they get outside in something like this, they learn about nature,” he said.
               Ethier hopes all teachers will develop study plans so that students can learn different aspects of nature and how they apply it to everything from art and music to literature and math.
“We hope to improve the kids’ learning so that in the future new pathways will open for them,” he said.
RES staff was introduced to the outdoor classroom on Sept. 16, 2019, and have already started to utilize the space.
Jenkins said they hope to create more outdoor classrooms in Jefferson County, but will need suggestions from the community.
               Engineers Without Borders International has worked with communities in 26 different countries.

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