Northern Elementary School officially opened their new outdoor learning center by hosting a ribbon cutting and short ceremony to thank the donors who made the outdoor structure possible. The outdoor learning center was a multi-year project sponsored by the school's parent teacher organization (PTO).
Northern Elementary School received a $5,000 Lowe’s Toolbox for Education grant for the project, as well as a $1,000 grant from Kelly Horseman's Allstate Agency in Somerset and material, labor and other donations from Mike Measel, Inc., Todd Metals, Todd Truss Company, MAC Metals and Truss, LumberKing, and Pulaski County Area Technology Center (ATC). In addition, the structure was funded by parent donations and PTO activities throughout last year, including the school's fall festival and walk-a-thon.
"We cannot thank our parents enough for making this project possible," said past PTO President Rebecca Measel, who spearheaded the project. "We had parents write grants, donate materials, and donate company resources and man power to build the shelter. It's because of our parents that we were able to come in under budget for the project and do a few extra upgrades to our school. We are so grateful for our students who walked in the walk-a-thon to raise money and to local businesses who sponsored that event. It really was a broad effort of so many that made this possible."
The Northern Elementary School outdoor learning center is located near the playground at the rear of the school. The structure contains picnic tables, and will hold approximately 64 to 72 students at one time.
"When students at Northern Elementary School sit in the new outdoor classroom, we want them to observe the world around them. We want them to be intrigued by the insect that lands at their feet. We want them to discuss the colors of the flower blooms that surround them, and we want them to learn about the shape of a cloud by looking at it, not by looking it up online," the Lowe's Toolbox for Education grant stated. "The outdoor classroom at Northern Elementary School will provide a unique space to do just that."
After the ceremony, all Northern Elementary School students were treated to ice cream, courtesy of the PTO.
This year, the school's fundraisers will go to fund field trip opportunities for all students in the school. The PTO is currently led by Dena Gibaszek.
“Our school and community will greatly benefit from the Lowe's Toolbox for Education grant that funded a nice portion of this project," said Gibaszek. " We wish to thank our friends at Lowe’s, as well as all parents and local business partners, for generously supporting the school's outdoor learning center.”
All K-12 public schools in the United States are eligible for the Toolbox for Education program. More information is available at www.ToolboxforEducation.com.