Black boards, desks, notebooks and textbooks. Sitting in a classroom day in and day out can become very mundane and it’s no wonder why attentions begin to wander. A few years ago, a group of students at Mauriceville Middle School dreamt of way to be outside and still get class work done.

On Jan. 18 at 8:30 a.m., that vision will be available for use. Mauriceville Middle School (MMS) will host a ribbon cutting for their very own outdoor classroom. This classroom will allow the students and teachers to experience learning in a 100 percent natural setting. The classroom is 900 square feet, will have seating around the perimeter, two stations at the center of it, and will have both electricity and water.

The Nelda C. and H.J. Lutcher Stark Foundation graciously sponsored the construction of this classroom. Nelda Burton was the voice for the children at MMS and applied for the grant.

Burton said that she did this all for the kids, they had the idea and she just provided the voice.

“It is our mission to provide an environmental education and to enhance our classroom work in science, mathematics, reading, writing, history and the arts,” Burton said. “With the help of the master gardeners, we proposed to have several raised beds for vegetables and flowers. There will also be several beds for butterflies to live and thrive.“

“It’s a nature classroom that opened up opportunities for our kids to do composting, planting, learn about the water cycle and all kinds of things to do with the outdoors,” said Principal Todd Loupe. “Our seventh grade science class has been researching the kinds of plants that would work well in our climate. As soon as the weather cooperates, the next step will possibly be using what they’ve discovered to decided what kind of plants to get.”

The teachers at MMS have shown their support of this outdoor classroom and are excited to use it. There will be a sign-up sheet to reserve a time for classes to use it and clip boards have been procured for the students to use while outside.

The Director of Maintenance for LCMCISD, Phillip Matthews, said that the construction on the building began in October. The Stark Foundation supplied the grant and the LCMCISD maintenance department supplied the labor. The maintenance department poured the last of the foundation on Tuesday morning and will pour sand around the edges of the classroom later this week.

“LCM maintenance department has done an excellent job,” said Loupe.

Again, the ribbon cutting will take place on Jan. 18 at 8:30 a.m. at the MMS outdoor classroom which sits directly behind the school. The students and teachers plan to release balloons, bury a time capsule and the middle school band will perform.

About Nicole Gibbs

Editor of The Record Newspapers