Linden Waldorf School constructs outdoor classrooms amid the pandemic

Posted at 4:24 PM, Aug 11, 2020

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — A local school is moving all classes outside due to the pandemic.

The Linden Waldorf School is tucked behind Trinity Presbyterian Church in the Green Hills neighborhood. They’re building eight classrooms for pre-K through eighth grade.

"We will be cohorting this year to keep our students and faculty in bubbles as much as we can," said Tricia Drake, head of school.

Drake said it’s an easy transition. Students already spend the bulk of the school day outside learning about things like gardening and woodworking.

“Our sixth graders spend time outside learning about meteorology,” Drake said.

Lucky for her, one parent, Jared Bradley, is an architect-developer who is spearheading the project.

"I’d say some of the cool things about this is how sustainable this is, and as a school community, it’s really what we’re all about anyway," Bradley said.

Bradley said his sons Indio, Friday, and Townes are ready to be back in school.

“We’ve been doing this for eight years, and these kids are probably some of the most outdoorsy kids you’ll find, and the most active, the most creative.”

The outdoor classrooms will be equipped with hand-washing stations and tree stump chairs. They won’t need electricity either.

"We don’t use technology in the classroom. In upper grades, they of course use it as research, but it’s not an integral part of our classroom instruction," Drake said.

They’re starting school virtually on August 17 so students can learn the new procedures. Once the project is completed, they’ll move the classes outside around August 24. It might just take an out-of-the-box learning environment to help students and teachers stay safe.

“In this sort of season of COVID we’re excited about having more time outside, and being able to learn,” Bradley said.

This year they’ve added an environmental lesson plan to the agenda where students will learn how to protect Nashville’s watershed.

In the chance of severe weather, they will move students inside.