Courtyard Transformation Project
The Nisswa PTO will be funding this transformation with our Buy-A-Brick campaign. This campaign allows families and businesses from the Nisswa Elementary community the opportunity to purchase an engraved concrete paver that will be used to build the walkway through this beautiful space.
Please help us build this amazing space for our students, staff, and families by leaving your legacy in stone right here at our beloved Nisswa Elementary. You can order online by using the link below or download an order form and return to school. Thank you for your support!
Nisswa Elementary School is a source of much pride in the community. With the library as its center, the school is the heartbeat of this small town. Next to the grand library sits a vacant 40 x 60 area of deteriorating lawn, bushes and diseased trees. There is a door on the south side of the library that opens up to this courtyard, yet there is nothing to draw people out into this barren space.
Our vision is to make the library flow from the indoor space out into an expanded outdoor learning and reflection area. Not only will this space be used by students and staff throughout the school year, but also during the heavily visited summer library program and hours of operation.
Furthermore, students enter the school in the morning by using a sidewalk next to the courtyard. Currently, this area does not reflect the amount of pride and energy that is present inside the school and the Julia Thorpe Cote Children’s Library. We want to change that and provide a rich, vibrant area to convey our commitment to these children, staff, community, and visitors.
The educational benefit of a peaceful, well-planned outdoor space is the center of our cause and something the Nisswa PTO and staff are very passionate about. We have been working with a local landscaper to develop a design that includes many exciting educational features that will benefit our young learners.
The biggest feature of our design is a cobblestone learning circle complete with log seating where our staff can conduct class or use as a special retreat for students. Our preliminary design also includes raised planter beds that teachers will be able to plant with their classes to accent the established science curriculum. Various types of rocks are incorporated so our 4th graders can see first hand the difference in texture and color while they study their geology unit. Plants specifically selected to attract birds and butterflies will fill the garden area. Different species of trees are planned to enrich our children’s learning experiences and expand on what they are learning in the classroom. Outdoor learning has been proven to increase engagement and enthusiasm while also making subjects more rich and relevant to a child.
In addition, our school staff will have the opportunity to use the improved courtyard for behavior purposes as well. In designing this area our landscapers kept in mind the children who need access to calm, secure environments when the commotion of the classroom becomes too overwhelming. This area could also be implemented as a reward for students and help to reduce discipline and classroom management problems.