By Katy Mena
Community News Writer
Bright School Headmaster O.J. Morgan is of the opinion that the classroom can be an oppressive place. A bold statement coming from such a prominent figure in the elementary school world, but Mr. Morgan has a plan to change the face of traditional learning, a plan he and the school have put into action with the groundbreaking of their new outdoor learning facility, an expansion of the Benjamin W. Kilbride Enrichment Center.
A project costing approximately $600,000, the outdoor facility is sure to stamp out oppression by altering the teachers’ approaches to instruction. “It is important for the kids to experience what they are learning in an active way, to take that experience and demonstrate it,” said Mr. Morgan. “A traditional classroom doesn’t give you that flexibility.” Mr. Morgan and the school hope to provide both students and teachers with an outdoor environment to encourage optimum learning through hands-on experiences.
The addition will feature structures to aid a wide variety of classes, from art to music to science to social studies. The outdoor classroom space may seem traditional enough, until one glimpses the the babbling water garden that will be off to one side, useful for observing water behavior and inspiring art.
The water garden is only one small part of the new environment, which will boast a labyrinth, an alphabet garden, a musical corner, a human sundial, and climbing boulders (safely sized, of course). “I saw an opportunity to do something more than just a playground, to provide an area for play as well as for learning,” said Mr. Morgan, who adds that traditional playground structures will be present in addition to the more progressive learning features, a selling point to any parents with hyperactive young boys.
Though the kids will have a chance to expend some energy this summer, they should be mindful to save some fuel for the fall. The project, which is slated to be complete this autumn, is sure to call for quite a bit of animation as it turns a lot of those back-to-school frowns upside down.
E-mail Katy Mena at email@example.com