After my last post, everyone working on the Outdoor Classroom Mini-Design Brief was split up into smaller groups. We have one group working with Porsche, one with AT&T Foundry, one with the City of Sandy Springs, and now one with The Frazer Center: my group.
The Frazer Center is a non-profit that helps adults with disabilities and children both with and without disabilities. In the adult program, the center helps people with disabilities become involved in the community through activities, hobbies, service, and employment. The center is also a school for babies through Pre-K. It works with children both with and without disabilities because studies have found that children with disabilities are positively challenged by their able-bodied counterparts (they want to walk and talk as much), while able-bodied children learn respect and understanding towards the children with disabilities (as one father put it, he knows his son won’t be the bully when he moves on to elementary school).
In the Frazer Center’s own words:
At Frazer Center, our greatest commitment is to fostering the kinds of learning and social opportunities with adults and children that build sustaining friendships, that deepen an appreciation for diversity, and that recognize the gifts and talents of every individual in ways that celebrate those characteristics as essential to the vitality of the larger community!
The Frazer Center sits on and manages 39 acres of forest about 15 minutes from Downtown Atlanta. This is where Innovation Diploma comes in.
In the month since my last post and this post, my team and I dove deeply into the impact of outdoor education and tried to continue to bring students outside at our school. When the brief from the Frazer Center was offered to us, we agreed that we felt we could make a larger impact when we had a client driving us to do our best work.
At this moment, our understanding of what the Frazer Center needs is a way to better use their land. It’s already used a lot by the neighboring community (the land is open from sun-up to sun-down) and sometimes by classes for nature walks, but because many of the adults and most of the children the center works with have unsteady gaits, they are prevented from doing a large amount of exploration and travel on the uneven trails throughout the forest.
After our initial visit to the Frazer Center this past Wednesday, my team and I have decided to explore the forest more and learn about the history of the community surrounding the property. We’ve also decided to learn more about similar places around Atlanta and how they have decided to use their land to teach people about the outdoors and encourage them to go outside more. We’ve also decided to conduct more interviews at the Frazer Center to learn more about what teachers there need and want.
I think my team is really good at figuring out what needs to be done next. I don’t think we’re as good as figuring out when to place those steps so we don’t overload ourselves and end up stressed later. We’ve created a calendar so we can keep up with what we’re doing on what days. At the time, I thought we would be fine with where we placed everything, but after one of my teammates made a comment about how most of our days are really heavy with things we’ve assigned ourselves to get done, I started to wonder if they are too heavy. We all have busy lives right now, and I don’t want our work to be of a lower quality because we tried to do too much at once too quickly.
That said, I’m looking forward to finding out what we discover and learning more about my city.