MUSGRAVETOWN and CLARENVILLE, N.L. — It was a beautiful day to learn while outside on Monday, June 18, fitting for Anthony Paddon Elementary School and the Clarenville College of the North Atlantic (CNA) to unveil a special outdoor classroom to be used by the school in Musgravetown.
The endeavor, organized by Anthony Paddon guidance counsellor Gail Burry, saw them contact Peter Troke, instructor of the carpentry program at CNA.
After providing materials through grants from Eastern Health and conservation group YIFE, Troke and his students got to work on benches, planting beds and even a small house — which is used for practice in the Skills Canada carpentry program.
The items will be moved to Musgravetown for the students to use to learn while outdoors, including how things grow and other outdoor curriculum.
Troke told The Packet this was a great way for them to give back to the community while being able to build and learn.
“Over the winter, myself and the students, we worked at it piece by piece,” said Troke.
He says the 12 students and himself prepared and painted it all over time.
“When I started thinking about, when I was in elementary school my favourite class was gym and it was favourite because you got to go outdoors,” he says. “If you can take somewhere where the kids’ favourite place to learn is outdoors, and give them tools to learn out in their favourite place, how much better project could you want?”
Every year now Troke and his students build a project for the community, whether it’s the outdoor classroom or a buddy bench. He says they all love seeing what they built put to good use and enjoyed by people in the community.
“We try to do as much as we can,” he said.
Monday’s day of activities also included a full slate of learning about growing.
The Grade 3-4 students started at 3 Mile Ridge Farm in Lethbridge, then proceeded to Balsom Gardens in Clarenville. Finally, while at the CNA, Deidre Strowbridge and the Enactus group presented a “Sow, Grow and Sell” program—teaching the students how to cultivate food from seeds.
They used Keurig K-Cups to start the seeds, while also showing them how to eventually make what they grow into preserves, pickling the items. Principal Janice Harnum says they can now perhaps sell the preserves at a fall fair.
The day concluded with the ribbon cutting by Troke, Burry and campus administrator Maisie Caines.
As the kids played outdoors, and learned so much through the day, the schools both are sure this was a great project for all.