The Falmouth Outdoor Learning Project has become a leader for alternative schooling solutions in New England.
Located in Falmouth, Massachusetts, the Falmouth Outdoor Learning Committee, a subcommittee of the Rotary Club of Falmouth Cape Cod, formed as an effort between teachers, parents, and community members to provide students with outdoor learning opportunities to keep them engaged and safe throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.
Committee lead Amy Leonardi is passionate about the benefits of being outside and made it her mission to provide enriching outdoor educational experiences for the seven schools within Falmouth’s school district.
Leonardi and numerous parents in the community felt it was important for students to continue their learning in person during the pandemic, but only if it was safe. The committee didn’t consider remote schooling a sustainable, long-term solution. So Leonardi did some research.
At the start of the pandemic last February, Leonardi did a google image search of permanent and semi-permanent tents and discovered WeatherPort® Shelter Systems.
With WeatherPort, Leonardi and the rest of the committee found a solution to their growing concerns of distance learning and school closures. They currently have seven structures installed and in use, with six more on the way.
“Now we can focus on the professional development of our students,” Leondari states. “The amount of use you’re going to get day in and day out and during the school year is worth the money spent.”
Teachers, administration staff, and parents met weekly to discuss and plan how to make this a reality; considering the social and emotional health of students in the community while also acknowledging how outside stimulus improves focus for schoolwork.
Falmouth is looking forward to even more equitable learning access and considers outdoor time an expectation for next school year.
“It’s been a pleasure working with WeatherPort,” Leonardi sums it up. “They just make it so simple!”