Carlin Park Elementary
From a mowed yard to an engaging habitat garden for learning and play.
Like many school campuses, Carlin Park Elementary has lots of open grassy space that children seldom use. And like many schools, children are only outdoors during recess. They challenged our team to imagine ways the outdoor areas could both appeal to the developmental needs of the children and provide context for the learning necessary to reach benchmarks and goals academically. Leaders of the MSD Steuben County Montessori Early Learning Center asked a simple question: How can we use our outdoor spaces to extend the learning time of our students?
ROZELLE SOLUTION: HABITAT FOR LEARNING & PLAY
In collaboration with the educators, our team devised a way to turn an underutilized lawn space into learning opportunities for the children. We partnered with Joe Pounds, a child development specialist, to reimagine 6,000 square feet of mowed grass just outside of the classroom walls. The plan included: a 65-foot, dry river bed with native boulders, stones, and logs to climb on, a winding trail through native grasses and flowers, a shaded meeting circle, a place to dig and discover, and a host of logs and stumps to promote gross motor skills. Birds, butterflies, pollinators, and wildlife immediately found refuge in the space, and children gained countless opportunities to discover and explore. We call it a habitat for learning; teachers call it an extension of the classroom; children call it fun!
Newly planted prairie gardens in the fall
BEFORE & AFTER
Slide to see the transformation