MADISON, Ala. — With the weather getting nicer, you may feel an urge to take your activities outside. One Madison elementary school is doing just that.
Rainbow Elementary in Madison is turning outdoor activities into a classroom. The long-awaited project was unveiled on May 20, complete with a ribbon-cutting ceremony. Four students spoke at the ceremony presented by the Alabama Wildlife Federation.
The students are excited about this new opportunity to learn outdoors. Fifth grader Hayden Smith says, "It's very exciting to have something like this here at school because you get to have somewhere where you can eat lunch outside. Because most of the time you can only be outside for PE and recess. I'm excited especially for the frog and toad pond because I like to see animals."
The completed project includes a weather station, monarch butterfly garden, songbird garden and a new outdoor stage.
Outdoor Classroom, Rainbow Elementary School, Madison, AL
WATCH: 5th grader Hayden Smith
WATCH: 3rd grader Leilani Moorehouse
Rainbow Elementary is the second school in the Tennessee Valley to open an Outdoor Classroom this year. Riverton Elementary School in Madison County also has a space that features flower gardens, herb gardens, bird feeders, and a tortoise. This classroom is also part of the Alabama Wildlife Federation's Alabama Outdoor Classroom Program. The group provides free technical and organizational assistance for schools who wish to "create a sustainable outdoor classroom site to be used as an effective educational tool for hands-on, outdoor learning opportunities." To participate in the AOC program, a school must formally enroll in the program and follow the steps discussed in the Outdoor Classroom Planning Guide throughout the development, certification and use of their outdoor classroom site.