Outdoor learning picks up popularity on Long Island

Outdoor learning centers in schools are popping up across Long Island. It’s a trend that’s gaining traction post coronavirus pandemic.

"It gets them to take off their masks, space out, and enjoy the outside while learning at the same time," said Smithtown Elementary School teacher Alyssa Patrissi. 

Over at Smithtown Elementary School, students spend time in an open-air classroom complete with a chalkboard and picnic tables with umbrellas.

"It’s one of the silver linings despite COVID," principal Janine Lavery with the Smithtown Elementary School. 

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Teachers sign up for an open slot weekly. Each class gets at least one period a week. Extra open spaces are taken as needed. The open-air classrooms are also a popular spot for staff to have their lunch.

The courtyard at Northside Elementary School in the Levittown School District is complete with a greenhouse where students learn about agriculture and growing plants, fruits, and vegetables.

"They’re all fighting for time to get out here," said principal Frank Mortillaro with Northside Elementary School.  

The motto - no child is left inside. Students rotate in the courtyard for mask breaks and lessons.

The space is intended to be used every season. Bundle up in the winter and enjoy the warmth in the spring.