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Claypool Elementary Develops Outdoor Trails and Classrooms

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As the fall colors come into full view, being outside during the school day provides students an even better learning experience. 

Claypool Elementary has started a three-year plan to bring a network of trails and learning centers to the students and staff. The woods north of the school building will be home to several hundred meters of nature trails along with outdoor classrooms and observation points.

Year one of the plan is nearing completion with a trail leading along the pond, through the woods and down to the creek. Approaching the creek, the trail widens to an outdoor classroom, complete with seating and a whiteboard.

Darci Zolman, a representative from the Kosciusko County Soil and Water Conservation, provided valuable knowledge and resources to help get the project going. According to research presented by the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point, school performance increases with outdoor learning opportunities.  

 Students’ attitudes toward school, test scores and behavior all see a marked improvement as well. Other notable influences on students include a positive sense of self, creativity and empathy towards others. Many of the Claypool teachers have already taken advantage of the trail and outdoor classroom. Students are eager to continue outdoor learning opportunities and look forward to the additions that the next two years will bring.

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