At Abington Friends School the Classroom Extends Outdoors
Abington Friends School (AFS) has the first certified nature explore classroom in the state of Pennsylvania and its Headwaters Discovery Playground was recently named one of the top five outdoor learning sites in the world.
Abington Friends School (AFS) has the first certified nature explore classroom in the state of Pennsylvania and its Headwaters Discovery Playground was recently named one of the top five outdoor learning sites in the world. The school’s 50-acre campus is uniquely situated at the headwaters of the Jenkintown Creek, a natural setting for creek walks, stream water quality studies, tree and animal track identification, bird adaptations, wildlife habitat gardening, and environmental art projects. The campus also has a certified arboretum containing over 300 identified and tagged trees. The exceptional outdoor learning experiences at AFS are all made possible by the AFS Outside (Outdoor Scholarship, Initiative, Discovery and Exploration) program hosted by the Center for Experiential Learning at AFS.
Rasheeda Murphy, the Lower School science teacher at AFS builds her curriculum around the outdoors. She says, “AFS Outside is a school-wide outdoor learning program designed to connect children in sustained and meaningful ways with the living world, while fully realizing the enormous potential of our beautiful campus.”
At AFS, the classroom intentionally extends to the outdoors and you can see this reflected in the interesting research, pictures, and poetry of AFS students. First graders created barometers and anemometers in science class by analyzing weather, climate, air pressure and wind speed collected from the AFS weather station. The station, located on the roof of the Middle School and installed by Villanova University, actively uses professional weather tools to report weather data in real-time. On any given day, you may find a third grade science class learning about simple machines at the water pump, a middle school math class calculating area and volume around the playground, or even a group of students conducting a bioblitz to document the insects and species living near the creek.
Recently, AFS was chosen as one of eleven schools to participate in a national program for the Arbor Day Foundation. This is part of a continued effort to inspire the future generation of tree stewards and acts as a compliment to the existing AFS Outside program.
Visit our campus for a Nature Playdate! Each year, AFS hosts this community event, designed as a day to explore nature through a variety of activities. Join us on Saturday, May 4, 2019! Details can be found at www.abingtonfriends.net.
Photographs provided by Abington Friends School.