I have all these Garden Ideas…
This is the question that I get at the end of many of on-site trainings. Teachers get very excited when I show them the abundance of possibilities for their outdoor spaces. There is an energy that is generated and ideas are captured. Teachers often leave workshops and conferences feeling a “high” that is all to often met with a slow decline of enthusiasm upon the return home. I am here to reassure and inspire you to dig in, nurture your ideas and create magnificent Outdoor Classrooms. Here are 5 simple steps to help you get started.
Step One: DREAM
Fear and over planning can sabotage any idea. Therefore, it is critical to be aware of this and begin with DREAMING. Brainstrom all the possibilities and ideas. What do you want in your outdoor space? How do you want to use the outdoor space? Think big. Let go. Dream. Invite the children to join this process
Step Two: DRAW A BLUEPRINT
Draw your existing Outdoor Space. Pull ideas from your dream list and play with where you would like to create your learning stations. If you have a staff, invite your staff to create their own blueprints and share them at the next staff meeting. This invites discussion and gets everyone working together. Do not get bogged down in this step. Remember, you do not need to be an expert Landscape Architect to do this. Invite the children to join this process.
Step Three: DOCUMENT YOUR BEFORE
This is a critical step and so important for your garden story. Take a picture and/or video of your Outdoor Space BEFORE you do anything. As you take action….record your progress. You will be amazed at the slow transformation! Think about all the HGTV design shows and how amazing it is to see how a space can be transformed.
Step Four: TAKE ACTION
There are many ways to do this, depending on your space. If you have a staff, invite teacher teams to take on a project or area that they are interested in. This will provide ownership to your Outdoor Classroom. Another option is to work on one garden or outdoor learning station at a time. The most important thing here is to take action and get the children involved in the process.
Step Five: TEACH & TWEAK OUTDOOR LEARNING SPACES
As you begin to use the outdoor space you will come learn what you need to tweak and add elements to your Outdoor Learning Station. It is a bit like moving into a new house. Once you take the leap, the rest is trial and error and figure-outable. Remember, the beauty is in the imperfection of these gardens.
I want to hear from you. Share your dreams, blueprints and your take action stories in the comments below.