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Whittier Primary School staff restore “outdoor classroom” to promote student growth

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PEORIA (WEEK) -- Summer break is just beginning for many kids in central Illinois, and for some staff members at Whittier Primary School, Sunday was an opportunity to get some important work done.

Whittier principal Julie Degnan teamed up with the Parent-Teacher Organization president and another teacher to work on the school's "outdoor classroom".

The grassy space includes a butterfly box and several gardening sections for each grade level.

Degnan says Sunday's efforts affect the whole community, as many are known to visit the space in their free time.

She says the work done Sunday is especially important for the students, who played a big role in nurturing many of the plants that are on display.

"Looking at life cycles and systems is good for every grade level, and every grade level will take a part of that," Degnan said. "It's just hands-on learning, it's seeing things, it's putting hard work in and seeing it beautiful in the end. That's always a good lesson."

Degnan says the outdoor classroom allows students to learn not only about plant life cycles, but insect life cycles as well.

Whittier students get an opportunity to see how butterflies grow from just a small caterpillar - all thanks to the outdoor classroom.

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