COOLBAUGH TOWNSHIP, Pa. — Learning just got a little brighter and breezier for pre-K students at the Mountain Center near Tobyhanna. An outdoor education and nutrition center is up and running.
“This is our outdoor classroom. It’s basically just like an inside classroom, but we took it outdoors for the children to learn and explore in nature with all it has to give us,” said Francesca Cornman, Head Start educational coach.
The new outdoor space is a project a few years in the making.
Playground space, reading nooks, building stations, and more are all ready for Head Start students to use.
Jennifer Cepulveda lives in Tobyhanna and has two children in the program.
“Outside in the playground is very good. It has trees, plants, flowers. It’s very good,” said Cepulveda.
In addition to the outdoor classroom, there is also a garden. As you can see, there are a lot of vegetables growing. There are even some fruit trees. Cherry, apple, and pear trees line a section of the property.
Students will learn how the fruits and veggies grow and will get to eat most of it, too. There are also plans for a greenhouse.
“Our hope was to grow the food, the fruits and vegetables, and also extend it to our families, so they can come and pick some fruits and vegetables. Then we are going to explore it with the children to give them a taste of the different fruits and vegetables. They have been working with that a couple times a week. Our health and nutrition department also comes down to help with it as well,” said Cornman.
A number of different companies and organizations throughout Monroe County helped fund the outdoor center.