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Peabody Preserve Provides Outdoor Classroom for Students

“It’s a wondrous thing how the wild calms the child.” While the attribution to that quote is ‘unknown’ it easily could have been spoken by a variety of first and second grade Morse teachers whose students ventured into Peabody Preserve for class last Friday. 

“It’s so fun out here!” said first grade student Penelope. Her classmates quickly agreed as they darted onto the field to participate in a game of soccer.

The district has been bringing students to Peabody for about the past five years to get them into nature and explore the world outside their doors. This year, in particular, the Peabody trips have presented a great opportunity for classes to break up their routines and be together in an outdoor setting. Morse students have made the short trip for the past few weeks to participate in outdoor art, music, foreign language and science/nature. They also took a hike to the highest point of the preserve where they sat around a stick fort to play a math game and then descended to the open field for soccer and lunch.

For their art project, students found two sticks around which they wove yarn in a color of their choice. Emma, another first grader, said that she thought hers looked like a butterfly and that she was going to find a way to give it wings. She was also excited to bring it home to show her mom.

In the science portion, students learned about the woodland habitat and drew pictures in their packets of spiders, chipmunks and other creatures. Several students talked about hearing the constant sound of a woodpecker throughout their lesson. 

Morse Physical Education teacher Raymond Farrell helped organize the experience, ensuring that students had a variety of activities and learning opportunities throughout the day. 

Bringing students to Peabody is a great opportunity for them to get out into nature. These days, life gets so busy, it’s difficult for any of us to get out into the woods,” said Mr. Farrell. “I have noticed our students work well outside. They seem calm and very interested in the subject matter being taught.”

At the end of the day, a group of about 15 students were asked for a show of hands to indicate which was their favorite activity of the day. But it was quickly determined that it was too tough to choose; each station had something special to offer.