The Ingrid S. Andrews Outdoor Classroom
Named for Faculty Emeritus Ingrid S. Andrews, a 35-year founding faculty member and longtime ES director, is the centerpiece of the Early School campus. It is a place where young learners can immerse themselves in nature, hone observation skills, practice persistence and cooperation, develop academic concepts and physical skills and learn problem solving skills and, of course—play and have fun. The first school in Orange County to be designated with a “Recognized Outdoor Classroom Site” by the Outdoor Classroom Project
*, the ES Outdoor Classroom is a science lab, artist’s studio, a library, symphony hall, theater and gym.
Inspired by the work about nature deficit disorder from author Richard Louv, St. Margaret’s commitment to providing an outdoor environment and curriculum that nurtures growth and learning for the whole child. All children need and benefit from abundant time outdoors positively impacting development and learning and critical for physical health. For children ages 0 to 5, development and learning outdoors is often easier, more productive and beneficial. Full development and integration of outdoor and indoor programs creates the optimal learning and growing environment for young children. The outdoor learning program promotes healthy lifestyle for young children, creates a respect for the earth and provides inviting spots for play and learning.
All Early School classrooms open to the Outdoor Classroom where students spend much of their day. Learning by doing in an outdoor environment supports physical, social and emotional growth, as well as growth across the curriculum: math, science, language and literacy, social studies, art, music and drama. Being outside nurtures the dispositions for learning (creativity, persistence, collaboration, problem solving and communication) that we know leads to lifelong learning.