Outdoor Learning

Supporting Covenant’s Integral, Experiential Curriculum

At Covenant Christian School we recognize that it is important for children to have the opportunity to explore the outdoors. As Covenant students explore the outdoors their educational opportunities are broadened and enriched.

Outdoor Learning Philosophy

Consistent with Covenant Christian School’s commitment to educating the whole child, our Outdoor Classroom extends academics, promotes long-term observation, develops student confidence and provides opportunities to work with and learn from natural resources. The whole of our curriculum is enhanced through student interaction with God’s natural world.

Read more about why we believe in outdoor learning

Outdoor Classroom Elements

Covenant’s Outdoor Classroom includes elements that promote student learning and includes a prairie, various types gardens, a windmill, the Outdoor Learning Lab, council circle (with fire pit), weather station and more.

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Outdoor Learning Lab

Covenant’s standalone Outdoor Learning Lab is located within the school’s Outdoor Classroom. The Lab supports our integral, experiential curriculum.

Read more about our innovative learning lab

Why Outdoor Learning

Each of the elements of our school’s Outdoor Classroom ties directly to our school’s learning goals. For example, each fall our sixth-grade students visit Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds in Mansfield, Missouri as a part of their fall trip. While at Baker Creek our students choose seeds for their portion of our school “farm.” Because our sixth-grade students study World War II they chose seeds from plants that would have been used for a World War II Victory Garden. They plant their Victory Garden each spring.

Enhances Our Academics

The whole of our curriculum is enhanced through student interaction with God’s natural world.

Promotes Long-term Observation

In an age of instant gratification, we are glad to have the opportunity to share the joys of anticipation with our students. Covenant students can and will observe seeds developing into radishes (and other fruits and vegetables) over a period of weeks and watch as trees and our prairie grow and develop over a period of years.

Grants a Greater Understanding of How Student Efforts Impact the Environment

The outdoor classroom provides opportunities for us to discuss how small things can impact the environment. In particular, they see plant and animal life enhanced and, as a result, see our own lives enriched.

Provides for Management of Natural Resources

The Outdoor Classroom promotes student understanding of the need to steward God’s creation. In addition, the Outdoor Classroom provides opportunities for our students to work together to accomplish their goals, building social as well as technical skills. Our students have been given opportunities to help construct and maintain our outdoor classroom. This has helped to build their woodworking and gardening skills as well as helping to build community.

Outdoor Learning Elements

Pelican Prairie

Covenant’s prairie was planted in 2010 and receives support from the Missouri Botanical Garden’s Litzinger Road Ecology Center. The prairie has been expanded and a fence placed around it.

Council Circle with Performance Area and Fire Pit

The ability to stand before an audience in any number of situations and speak confidently is one of our goals for each of our students. Our speakers circle/performance area is one more venue for our students to share their words and gifts. The area consists of benches, a fire pit and a small stage.

Berry Patch

In the spring of 2012 students planted blueberry, raspberry, and blackberry bushes in the “Berry Patch” located adjacent to the school farm.

Display Board

The Display Board is used to show-off student science work conducted in the Outdoor Classroom and provides the casual observer with information about the layout and content of the Outdoor Classroom.


Art is a natural and integral part of the school’s Outdoor Classroom.

Weather Station

The traditional weather station provides students with an understanding of the foundations of weather measurement.


The windmill pumps water from rain collection barrels at the Edwards House across the Outdoor Classroom to water storage next to the Berry Patch. Students use the stored water to hydrate schoolyard plants. The windmill also provides an opportunity for our students to learn about the circulatory s...

Teaching Kitchen

A kitchen for student use is available in the Edwards House.

Compost Bins

Covenant’s students are responsible for maintaining the bins and collecting compost to place in the bins.


A designated portion of the property is the school’s “woodlands.” With forts and climbing trees, the Woodlands is a favorite haven for imaginative and active play.

Native Habitat Garden

The Native Habitat Gardens were originally planted in the fall of 2010 and are designed to support insects, butterflies and other pollinators.

Jordan’s Grove

A student-initiated project, Jordan’s Grove was the brainstorm of former fifth-grade student Lindsay. Lindsay found a spot in the Outdoor Classroom for fruit trees, researched what kinds of trees might be good choices, ordered the trees and organized her classmates to plant them.


Every child needs the opportunity to play in the dirt. While we don’t discourage children from playing in the dirt wherever they find it, we have designated an area for just that purpose.


Around the property are woodpiles used for fort building as well as curriculum support (i.e. these Junior Kindergartners constructed their own nest!).

Miss Annie’s Farm

Okay, so it’s not a “farm,” but we still like to call it that! Miss Annie’s Farm is our raised bed garden. Each class has their own bed. The third-grade class studies ancient Egypt, Rome and Greece so their farm bed is dedicated to plants that would have grown in those areas of the world during the historical period they study. The fourth-grade class studies Shakespeare so their bed is dedicated to plants mentioned in Shakespeare’s works. The fifth-grade studies Williamsburg and the early years of our nation so their bed is a Williamsburg/Jeffersonian garden. Finally, sixth-grade (1850 to the present) studies World War II so their bed is a World War II Victory Garden.

Outdoor Learning Lab

The Outdoor Learning Lab is a single-classroom building with covered outdoor space in the midst of the Outdoor Classroom. Covenant has modified its curriculum to be more purposefully experiential across all grade levels and well-balanced across the curriculum as well as in the areas of the life, earth, and space, and physical sciences. An Outdoor Classroom Coordinator supports experiential education as well as works to help make the school’s Outdoor Classroom integral to the curriculum.