An inside look at Faine Elementary’s outdoor classroom

Published: Oct. 22, 2020 at 3:21 PM CDT
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You usually think of paper, pencils and desks inside a classroom but you wont find any of that in one Dothan classroom.

From broccoli, to kale and even an aquaponic set up, these can all be found at Faine Elementary.

Have you heard the quote think outside the box? Well Faine Elementary link teacher, Amanda Smith took that seriously when she developed their outdoor classroom.

“The outdoor classroom utilizes all stem aspects, science, technology, engineering and math. It is available for kindergarten through 6th grade, our faculty, our special education unit, it’s for children and the staff to have hands on approach from farm to table,” Amanda Smith, link teacher at Faine Elementary said.

A chance for students to get out from behind their desks.

“Because in class we just sit there on our Chromebooks, do work but in link we can actually express ourselves and show what we can do,” Cimora McGuire, 6th grader at Faine Elementary said.

And get their hands dirty.

“It helps me learn more about being open like getting my hands dirty and being able to plant stuff. I really never knew how to plant for instance broccoli and kale but now since our program started I’ve been able to learn about that,” Angel Lewis, 6th grader at Faine Elementary said.

Planting one simple seed and watching not only the plant grow but the students minds too.

“Kindergartners just think vegetables come out of cans but actually they come from the ground so they can learn new stuff out here,” McGuire said.

Teaching others the same lessons they once learned.

“It really is because they might over water the plants, under water them, they might die so we have to bring them back to life. So it’s really important that we take care of the plants for them,” John David Hawkins, 6th grader at Faine Elementary said.

The outdoor classroom has only been in the works for a year but the future opportunities are endless.

“Take what they’ve learned here at school, go home and grow their gardens or contain their gardens or have a small aquaponics lab in their home or even share our produce with our lunchroom staff or the community around us," Smith said.

The next goal for Faine elementary is to get a fully functioning “Faine Farms.”

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