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
Preschool Outdoor Education
Our 31-acre campus is unique among schools in the Seattle area. 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 preschool gardens are a living science lab, tended by students in our P3, P4, and P5 classes. Learn more>>
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.
Our orchard is more than a collection of fruit-bearing trees; it is an alternative learning space for our preschoolers. Throughout the orchard, our older students have designed and built forts from fallen limbs and other natural items.
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.
The Sanctuary is a secluded open space surrounded by trees. A series of log benches provide a seating area.
Our campus borders on Lake Washington with a natural lake shore of native plants.
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)