We are delighted to announce the winners of our Design Your Ideal Outdoor Classroom Competition. To celebrate the launch of our resource, Outdoor Learning in the School Setting, we asked schools to design their ideal outdoor space for learning with the winning school awarded the installation of a Choill Bheag on their grounds.
The past year has taught us the importance of fresh air and the outdoors in all aspects of our lives and many schools around Ireland have taken classes outside or created outdoor classrooms to make outdoor learning as easy as possible. Our Outdoor Learning resource has all of the information you might need to consider taking your class outside to learn.
Experience of the outdoors and wilderness has the potential to confer a multitude of benefits on young people’s physical development, emotional and mental health and wellbeing and societal development. Mental health and wellbeing benefits from play in natural settings appear to be long-term, realised in the form of emotional stability in young adulthood. Travlou, P. (2006), Open Space Research Centre.
Winning School: St. Brigid’s National School, Crossbridge, Tinahely, Co. Wicklow
Congratulations to the students and teachers from St. Brigid’s National School who wow-ed us with their imaginative, colourful and considerate design for their ideal outdoor classroom. The students really let their imaginations run wild with their ideal outdoor classroom design, which they cleverly call ‘Outschool’! Their ideal classroom has great ideas like their vegetable patch, recycling area and wildflower garden but also a helipad for visiting celebrities, an ice cream stand and a mindfulness area – an outdoor classroom we definitely want to visit! Watch their video of their garden below and listen to their Outschool poems too!
We chose three schools as runners-up: St. Joseph’s Secondary School, Rush, Co. Dublin; Castlecuffe National School, Co. Laois and Scoil Mhuire National School, Clondalkin, Dublin.
Scoil Mhuire National School, Clondalkin
Scoil Mhuire’s collaborative approach really shone through in their final design; they created a video showing their process including virtual and interactive designs. We especially liked their garden kitchen and consideration like a storage area.
Castlecuffe National School, Laois
The students in Castlecuffe National School created a 3D model of their ideal garden along with a drawing and video outlining their vision. We liked their pond and wetland area along with the considerations given in their design to students who use wheelchairs.
St. Joseph’s Secondary School, Rush
The designs from St. Joseph’s Secondary School were beautifully drawn and showcased an awareness of biodiversity concerns, with a wild garden and bug/bee hotels. The garden would be useful, with mural space and herb planters for use by students alongside a stage and sensory path.