The Megwayaak Project at the time of this report is as follows: to develop an outdoor classroom that not only caters to the curriculum set forth by the Leech Lake Early Childhood Development, but takes into strong consideration the research presented in Jessie Austin’s report of The Benefits of Nature-Based Learning and Play for Young Children’s Health, Development and Well-Being (Austin, 2019). The report that was compiled and presented in the spring of 2019 will act as a framework for the outdoor learning space’s design. To compliment the previous report, the research from Teaching Strategies GOLD’s Objectives for Development & Learning, Birth Through Third Grade (GOLD’s, 2015) will aid in development of the overall programming of the space, as well as set both qualitative and quantitative standards to track overall achievements of the goals to be set forth.
Ms. Austin’s work in the spring of 2019 set a foundation and proper warrants for the benefits of nature-based play during crucial developmental periods. From this, the goal of this report is not to continue to defend the benefits of nature-based play, but to use Ms. Austin’s report to help guide the final outdoor classroom’s design. Her research, along with engagement from the Leech Lake Early Childhood Development, and stewardship from the Central Regional Sustainable Development Partnership (RSDP), will ensure that the design fits within the context of the Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe, their curriculum, and their community.
In the summer of 2019 the Leech Lake Early Childhood Development again partnered with the Center for Urban and Regional Affairs (CURA) and the University of Minnesota’s Extension RSDP. This time, it was to develop a design based on the research completed in the spring of 2019. For this portion of the project, it was led by Jordan Hedlund, a graduate student of Landscape Architecture at the College of Design at the University of Minnesota. He was chosen based on his merit within the College of Design, and his previous history of working on projects involving Native American culture and communities.
The journey to the final design will be described in detail later in this report, but the ultimate goals will be as follows:
1. Development of a final design and graphic presentation that can be used to garner funding for the construction and continued maintenance and support of the Megwayaak Project.
2. Development of a final set of scaled construction documents to supplement a bid package.
3. Creation of supplemental material to aid in engagement of children within the designed space.
Prepared in partnership with Leech Lake Early Childhood Development by the Community Assistantship Program (CAP), which is administered by the Center for Urban and Regional Affairs (CURA) at the University of Minnesota.
Leech Lake Early Childhood Development's Megwayaak Project.
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