Take it Outside | Kids VT | Seven Days | Vermont's Independent Voice

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Take it Outside 

Education: Outdoor classroom at the Sustainability Academy

Published October 1, 2012 at 4:00 a.m.

Students at Burlington's Sustainability Academy at Lawrence Barnes are getting down to work — outside the school building. The magnet elementary school recently unveiled an outdoor classroom where students can experience hands-on learning in the natural world. It's the first step in transforming the urban school grounds into a little oasis in the Old North End. The new, open-air veranda is fashioned from massive larch logs — rot resistant, incredibly durable and sustainably harvested in Vermont. The result is part classroom, part playground, where kids can pile onto the benches for a lesson or scamper across benches-turned-balance-beams after school. The school's biggest champions say that what might look like a cosmetic upgrade is, in fact, a sign of Barnes' momentum and growing success. "This isn't just a school. It's a model of what change in a school can be," says Chris Sharp, a Burlington High School art teacher who helped design and build the outdoor classroom. "This is the most vibrant change I've ever seen made in a school."

Outdoor classroom: Located at the Sustainability Academy at Lawrence Barnes, 123 North St., Burlington. Info, 864-8480, sa.bsdvt.org.

This article was originally published in Seven Days' monthly parenting magazine, Kids VT.

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About The Author

Kathryn Flagg

Kathryn Flagg

Bio:
Kathryn Flagg was a Seven Days staff writer from 2012 through 2015. She completed a fellowship in environmental journalism at Middlebury College, and her work has also appeared in the Addison County Independent, Wyoming Public Radio and Orion Magazine.

About the Artist

Matthew Thorsen

Matthew Thorsen

Bio:
Matthew Thorsen was a photographer for Seven Days 1995-2018. Read all about his life and work here.

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