We are committed to creating a seamless, whole child curriculum that moves between outdoor and indoor learning experiences with full utilization of our unique campus learning spaces.
- Villa Academy Outdoor Learning Committee
MIDDLE SCHOOL ACADEMICS
Middle School Outdoor Education
Our 31-acre campus is unlike any other school in Seattle. Our diverse landscape includes grassy areas, a multi-purpose playfield, the school garden, orchards, deciduous and mixed forest areas, a wetland seep, riparian forest area bordering on Lake Washington, and waterfront access.
Our garden is a living science lab, tended by students in grades K - 8.
Our Garden Learning Center is the base of operation for many of our outdoor projects. It includes:
- a greenhouse
- a garage with tools and other supplies
SCIENCE - 8th Grade Plant Biology Projects - Independent, hands-on, open-ended, inquiry-based experiments designed by the students.
Our historic Grotto, built in the 1930s and restored in 2015, is a secluded, shady stone structure surrounded by trees. It's the perfect spot for large and small group work as well as quiet reflection.
HUMANITIES: Working in small groups, 6th grade students used evidence from the text (and materials they found in the woods) to recreate a scene from the novel Esperanza Rising.
Our orchard is more than a collection of fruit-bearing trees; it is an alternative play and learning space for our older students. In 3rd grade, Villa students are introduced to the orchard as an environment to explore.
Our 31-acre campus includes dozens of varieties of trees and shrubs, within distinct "zones". Our woods are an interactive learning space for a variety of purposes including science, math, and art.
SCIENCE, HUMANITIES: 8th Grade "CSI: Villa" - 8th Grade students found, photographed, measured, and cast footprints found in the woods after working with Seattle Police Department officers to complete a grid search of the grotto and woods.
The Sanctuary is a secluded open space surrounded by trees. A series of log benches provide a seating area.
HUMANITIES: 6th Grade Creative Writing & Peer Editing where quiet spots encourage creativity and offer inspiration for creative minds.
Our campus borders on Lake Washington with a natural lake shore of native plants.
SCIENCE, BUDDY PROGRAM: 8th grade Salmon Project - 8th graders raise coho salmon from eggs to fry that are released in the spring with their Kindergarten buddies.
Planning and construction is currently underway for the Villa Treehouse. This indoor, covered, elevated outdoor classroom was funded by the 2016 Auction Fund-a-Need and will be a platform for a new kind of learning.
Why Learn Outdoors?
- Physical Benefits
- Stimulating the senses
- Decreasing stress
- Cognitive Benefits
- Increasing attention span
- Creativity and problem solving (both academic and social-emotional learning)
- Educational Benefits
- Standards taught in a meaningful and retainable way
- Authentic project-based learning
- Ecological awareness
- Seeds of stewardship
- Connections to food and health (gardens)