Cross Creek Elementary uses grant for outdoor classroom

Cross Creek Elementary Grant

THOMAS CO., GA (WALB) - An elementary school in Thomas County was awarded a $2,000 grant to help update its outdoor classroom.

Several teachers at Cross Creek Elementary told WALB they already use this space for several different subjects, but the grant, an Envision Grant, will allow them to do even more outside.

Teachers said the grant will be used to build a gazebo, which will create a structured learning environment.

Lacey Howard, a fourth grade teacher, said they’ll get more work accomplished with the addition of the gazebo.

Lacey Howard, 4th grade Special Education teacher at Cross Creek Elementary (Source: WALB)
Lacey Howard, 4th grade Special Education teacher at Cross Creek Elementary (Source: WALB)

“The kids love to be outside. So, we hope by giving them an environment that they find unique, that they get to go outside and do their work, we hope that will engage them more," Howard said.

LaSaundra Cohen, also a fourth grade teacher, said she uses the outdoor space when she feels her students need a change in scenery.

“This will only improve and increase what we’re doing already," Cohen said.

As more picnic tables are purchased, Cohen said, the space continues to get more use.

Cross Creek Elementary in Thomas Co. was just awarded a $2,000 grant to build a gazebo for their existing outdoor classroom.

Posted by Paige Dauer WALB on Thursday, January 10, 2019

“A lot of us use the outdoors anyway," Cohen said. “So, basically we thought we should have a centralized location."

When she brings her students outside, Howard pointed out, they’re more productive and receptive to the material being taught.

“When they’re out there, they’re smiling, they’re happy, they’re working with each other, they’re laughing, they’re helping each other completely unassisted," she said.

Howard said the gazebo is the perfect space for students to interact with their assignments.

LaSaundra Cohen, fourth grade teacher at Cross Creek Elementary (Source: WALB)
LaSaundra Cohen, fourth grade teacher at Cross Creek Elementary (Source: WALB)

“An outdoor classroom will just help those kids have more hands on experiences," Howard said.

School officials said they aren’t sure when construction for the gazebo will begin, but said it’ll be near the picnic tables.

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