COOL SCHOOLS: Horizon Elementary

GRANGER, Ind. – Horizon Elementary Schools is one Michiana’s Cool Schools.

In the heart of the Brummitt Road facility sits an Outdoor Environmental Laboratory.

“Inside you're normally in there and when you’re outside it’s fun because it’s something new,” said Kindergartner Madelyn Cartwright.

Cartwright’s class got to leave the normalcy of the indoors and head outside to listen to a book in the sunshine.

“Stories they hear out here, they remember, it creates a different kind of memory for them because they’re doing it in a different location,” said Principal Tressa Decker.

The kids love that no chairs are allowed in the stadium seating. We asked where they sit.

“On the steps,” answered Cartwright.

The students even get to take part in maintaining the non-traditional classroom. This helps to teach them responsibility.

Decker said the kids occasionally pick-up sticks and even helped plant 1,200 tulips and daffodils last fall.

"We planted some,” said student Cade Stout. “They look nice.”

The outdoor space also has a pond filled with fish, a frog pond, and a few turtle appearances.

“Once I saw a turtle walking that way,” said Stout.

We asked if he thought other schools had turtles walking around.

"No," said Stout.

Having the space accessible from all sides of the school benefits every grade level. Since it’s just a few steps away, it doesn’t get much easier for teachers to mix up the daily routine.

“It’s convenient you don’t have to take a bus, and get a permission slip, the kids can just come out here and have a whole variety of experiences,” said Decker.

Decker said the lab is in need of a few upgrades. The small bridge needs to be updated and a new water pump needs to be installed.

The principal said they’re hoping the community can pitch in and help with the repairs.

There’s plenty of more Cool Schools across Michiana.

Watch ABC 57 News Morning Edition next Tuesday, April 29th. We’ll take you inside the Criminal Justice Program at Riley High School.

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