Howell School Awarded Grant For Outdoor Classroom

Photo courtesy Howell School District

  HOWELL – Ardena Elementary School was recently awarded a $10,000 grant from Sustainable Jersey to create an outdoor classroom.

  A total of 35 public schools and districts in the New Jersey were selected to receive grants which are funded by the PSEG Foundation. The PSEG Foundation has contributed $2.8 million in funding to the Sustainable Jersey grants program for municipalities and schools.

  Out of the 35 recipients, Ardena Elementary School received a $10,000 grant to build an outdoor classroom.

  The school created a student and staff survey to get some input on how this new outdoor classroom would be designed.

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  The classroom will be used for both academic and social-emotional purposes, according to a statement on the program. An example would be science teachers using the space and the native plants for science lessons. Additionally, the students can use the outdoor classroom as a place to relax or study with their peers

  “Ardena School is thrilled to accept this grant from Sustainable Jersey and the PSEG Foundation to put toward our natural playscape. An outdoor space for our school has been a dream for several years and this grant will bring this dream to life! We cannot wait to have this special area in our ‘backyard’ for teachers to use for outdoor lessons and for our students to enjoy during recess,” said Katie Mignoli, Principal at Ardena Elementary School.

  “As we work to achieve a sustainable New Jersey, our organization understands how important it is to help municipalities and schools build on the progress they are making at the local level,” said Randall Solomon, executive director for Sustainable Jersey. “The Sustainable Jersey grants, funded by the PSEG Foundation, build capacity and help our communities take meaningful steps to face issues such as the climate crisis, a growing equity divide and environmental pollution. Congratulations to the municipalities, schools and districts that received grant funding today.”

  In addition, Memorial Elementary School in the Howell Township Public School District received a $10,000 grant to “reimagine the classrooms for today’s learners.”

  “As the school sees a return from virtual to in-person learning, it is important to focus on the social and emotional wellbeing of students,” a statement on the program said.

  The grant will be used to purchase flexible seating for its classrooms such as standing desks, wobble chairs, fidget stations and more.

  “These options will ensure a comfortable learning environment for all students, help re-socialize students to the classroom setting and hopefully lead to a decrease in problematic behavior,” the statement said.