Outdoor Classroom Day 2021
Siwanoy School celebrated National Outdoor Classroom day on Thursday, May 20 by welcoming back Susan Gilbert for a day of planting and outdoor learning in the space that was the brainchild of the former principal and officially opened two years ago to the day. To kick off the festivities, members of the PTA, teachers and student government leaders spoke about Mrs. Gilbert’s incredible career at Siwanoy, culminating in the dedication of a butterfly garden in Mrs. Gilbert’s name and the unveiling of a plaque in the outdoor classroom that reads, “In Honor of Susan Gilbert, Siwanoy School Principal 2003-2020, Champion of Children, Lover of Nature.”
In addition to members of the student government, who passed out packets of milkweed seed to guests, the event featured remarks from current Siwanoy Principal Farid Johnson, Superintendent of Schools Dr. Cheryl Champ, Teacher Suzie Diano, PTA President Dawn Bloise and Mrs. Gilbert. Throughout the day, students from all grade levels spent time in the classroom, gardening, planting and enjoying the space.
The Nature Explore Outdoor Classroom at Siwanoy School opened in 2019 following years of development and fundraising. The classroom, located in the rear of Siwanoy School, serves as an important vehicle to augment students’ education across a number of disciplines and enable them to connect with nature. Features include a stage, student gathering area, music and movement areas, art panels, raised garden beds for classroom plantings, a butterfly cycle garden and a weather station. The outdoor classroom was made possible through an incredible fundraising effort by the Siwanoy PTA, Siwanoy Outdoor Classroom Committee, Pelham Education Foundation, Pelham Preservation and Garden Society, and a New York State grant along with the contributions of many families and community members.