With the goal of getting kids excited about eating healthy food, LandDesign endeavored to create an engaging learning environment rife with opportunities to interact with the food cycle. The unique outdoor classroom space encourages experiential learning, where students learn about agriculture, food, health, and nutrition by actively growing, preparing, eating, and composting food on-site.
To further activate the site with hands-on learning opportunities, the design features an interactive hand-pump water feature that educates students on water quality, erosion, and hydrology. Additionally, the rainwater runoff from the pavilion roof was engineered to drain into a rain barrel, with overflow runoff feeding into a dry creek bed and rain garden landscaped with native plants. Today, the outdoor teaching kitchen at Leckie Elementary is being used to provide new and fun ways of learning and offers teachers a unique outdoor space for curriculum training.
This project presented an opportunity to collaborate with Out Teach, formerly REAL School Gardens, a national nonprofit that builds learning gardens in elementary schools as a tool to improve student engagement and academic achievement. A collaborative partner of LandDesign, Out Teach assisted in creating the raised plant beds and hosted a community volunteer day where Leckie staff, students, parents, and community volunteers–including LandDesign staff–gathered to bring the vision to life.