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PCES students to reveal designs for SAD 4 outdoor classroom on May 24

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GUILFORD — Fifth- and sixth-grade students from Piscataquis Community Elementary School are planning to reveal their designs for SAD 4’s outdoor classroom during the early evening of Thursday, May 24. The students been working on a layout using “Design Thinking” and have designed blueprints, sketches and “gallery walks.”

Grade 5/6 teacher Grace McGeehan explains, “We are creating an outdoor educational space that brings learning to life by moving it outdoors.”

The project began last year based on a grant from the Friends of Acadia, a Maine Non-Profit Conservation Association. When completed, the ADA compliant space will include many of the features one would expect in a classroom: a stage, chalkboard, stools and benches, flower boxes and planters.

The outdoor classroom design night is an opportunity for the community to learn more about the project as students share their ideas and work as well as demonstrate some of the design skills they have mastered. Budgetary considerations have been part of the process.

“We are working with a small budget,” McGeehan notes. “We are hoping this becomes a true community effort. Perhaps local contractors will help with things like reclaimed wood, and stumps for seating. One goal of design night is to allow the community to see our thoughts and plans and discover ways they can help through donations and volunteering. Just attending design night is a contribution as it shows support of the students’ work.”

The program is scheduled from 5 until 7 p.m. May 24 in the PCES cafeteria. For those who cannot attend, McGeehan invites a phone call (876-4301) or email (gmcgeehan@sad4.org) to discuss the opportunities to help with the project. The students hope to see the construction phase of the project completed this summer.

McGeehan notes that Maine is definitely an outdoor state and learning shouldn’t be compartmentalized, “We are already seeing so many benefits from this. We have the designs, we just need materials and construction. When completed, the outdoor classroom will be available to all students and the community, free of charge. Let’s get it done!”

Photos courtesy of Walter Boomsma
PCES OUTDOOR CLASSROOM DESIGN NIGHT — PCES grade 5-6 students Quentin Blanchard and Shyann Dever work on their designs for an outdoor classroom at the SAD 4 campus in Guilford. The designs will be revealed during an evening event in the school cafeteria from 5-7 p.m. on Thursday, May 24.

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