First published in the Dec. 17 print issue of the South Pasadena Review.
South Pasadena Unified School District campuses are known for using every square inch of classroom space to benefit the students.
However, at Arroyo Vista Elementary School, the SPUSD facilities team repurposed an unusable dirt area outside the 1st grade classrooms this year by adding no-water turf and picnic tables to create an open-air learning environment.
The courtyard renovation project was designed for teachers to expand their outdoor learning space as well as to provide an additional lunch area for the 1st-graders.
Students have been using the space for read-aloud time, partner-learning activities, “book buddy” reading time and physical education.
“I envision being able to use the space for STEAM activities to enhance our curriculum this year as well,” said Jillian Jones, an Arroyo Vista 1st grade teacher. “Students love a change of scenery, and I so appreciate being able to extend our classroom walls outdoors.”