Grand Blanc schools developing outdoor learning pods to encourage creativity

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GRAND BLANC(WJRT) The Scrap Pods aren't much bigger than a shed you'd house in your backyard; but instead of being used for storage, Grand Blanc Community Schools hopes they become a creative space for the students.

"It holds scrap materials. Things that we would normally discard. So anything like old steering wheels to old phones to the plastic gutters, to wood blocks," explained Deb Wilson-Jewell, who chairs the science department for Kindergarten through 8th grade students.

She developed the idea from research online.

"So kids of varying ages can kind of make up things," she said. "They might run around with a sheet over their neck and be a superhero; or, they might put a seat on top of a little go-kart thing and pull each other around."

The high school students are currently building the pods. Wilson-Jewell said it's part of a combined math and construction class.

"It's a wonderful opportunity for the kids to really get some hands-on skills," she said.

The Scrap Pods will be added to the playgrounds at Myers and Brendel Elementaries this coming school year.

"The research supports them just being kids and being able to figure things out and creating their own kinds of games, using their imagination," said Myers Elementary Principal Betsy Kato.

Brendel Elementary Principal Doris Goetz added, "You have an idea, you kind of gotta collaborate together on it. Sometimes that doesn't work so well, but they do learn the whole social skills that kids need and they get from play."

Skills these principals know their students will need to be career ready one day.

And most importantly, it'll get them away from their screens.

"We're starting to realize, that is a problem for their learning. It's a tool, it's a great tool. But, they have to have this foundational experience of active play," Goetz said.

Now, they're in need of donations of any scrap material to fill these pods. Contact the district if you can help.