Wrenshall Builds Outdoor Classes

The pandemic has brought about many changes at Northland schools. COVID-19 even jumpstarted one particular school's efforts to build outdoor classrooms. 

WRENSHALL, Minn. – The pandemic has brought about many changes at Northland schools. COVID-19 even jumpstarted one particular school’s efforts to build outdoor classrooms.

In the past, Wrenshall’s school forest area was used primarily for play and for building forts. But this year, teachers and other leaders from the school are clearing the area for classroom space.

Staff members have cleared out the lower underbrush to form some little classrooms, putting up walls and cutting stumps for stools and benches.

It’s about providing kids an educational environment that is both safe and accessible.

“I feel very lucky that we do have this area,” said Suzy Berger, a kindergarten teacher at Wrenshall. “Not all schools have this and like I said, we’ve been wanting to do this for a while and I think it will be a really good experience for our kids to have this space.”

Teachers say that being outdoors will be beneficial to students. By being outside, they won’t be distracted by their masks.

“As long as we keep some healthy distance and they won’t have to wear those masks and especially our young learners, that’s going to really be good for them and help their engagement and not being distracted by a mask,” said Anna George, another kindergarten teacher at Wrenshall.

Staff members say it’s rewarding to partner with the administration to provide for students in such a unique way.

“When you have a parent say, we love what you’re doing, there is no better feeling than that,” said George. “Coming out and being able to do this and have everybody feel so blessed to be here is great because I feel so blessed to be here in Wrenshall with the staff and our administration.”

Staff says that they hope the outdoor classrooms last throughout the year, no matter the season.

“You know obviously in the winter probably not as much depending on the weather, but I don’t see any reason we can’t,” said Berger.

The school district, which will be following a hybrid learning model this year, is also looking for donations for the classrooms.

They include outdoor clothing and gear, including things like coats, rain boots, and everyday mittens.

For more information on how to donate, contact Suzy Berger at sberger@isd100.org.

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