How to extend your classroom – without losing your outdoor area

How to extend your classroom with a canopyIf you are finding that your classroom is no longer big enough for your expanding class sizes you may be looking to extend your school building. But this can mean losing valuable outdoor areas and an extension can be an added expense which most schools would struggle to afford.

A great alternative to an extension is a canopy, or shade structure fitted adjacent to your classroom, or installed in your playground. The great benefit a canopy offers is that, although you will have extended your all-weather teaching space, you won’t lose that outside area so at lunchtime and break-times children can still access this area and have fun outside – with the added bonus that they can shelter under it during downpours and seek shade there if it is very hot and sunny.

The Options
The most cost effective canopy option is a wall mounted canopy, these also have the added benefit of providing uninterrupted cover from your classroom door, these canopies are ideal for classrooms which face out onto your outdoor area and allows you to have a variety of activities going on inside and out and makes it easy to monitor all these activities.

A free standing canopy or tensile fabric structure can also provide a great outdoor classroom; this can be fitted next to your building or further away to create a remote classroom area. Great cover is offered with these structures allowing you to utilise this resource all year round.

Canopies can be used as an extension to your teaching space, or they also make great storage areas, allowing you to move equipment out to these areas and free up space inside your classroom. Side panels or roller shutters can be added to the canopy to provide extra cover and security for your equipment.

How to extend your classroom with a canopyCreating your Outside Classroom
The possibilities with your outdoor classroom really are endless, you can bring chairs, tables and benches outside to create a traditional classroom space; or you may find you want to create a more informal atmosphere, with chairs in a circle or arranged in small groups.

If your outdoor area is relatively quiet a story outside can be a great change for pupils, with the fresh air keeping them alert and engaged in the story. Sandpits and water containers can be set up to allow for messy play without the worry of creating a mess

For older pupils lessons such as art, drama and music can be taken outside under the canopy – or practise groups can make use of this extra space to work on a performance.

A multitude of uses
As well as providing extra space for lessons, or for storing classroom equipment, canopies can be used as outside dining and seating areas and a waiting area for parents in wet or very sunny weather.

A canopy really does let you bring the inside out, giving you the option to add outdoor elements into all your lessons or just giving you extra space to create the learning experience you wish.

Download our canopy shelter and shade sail brochure

Able Canopies Ltd. design, manufacture and install canopies and shade structures
at schools, nurseries and educational settings to enable year-round
Free Flow Outdoor Play and Outdoor Learning.
For more information please contact us

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Rachel is Able Canopies' previous Marketing Coordinator, she is an advocate of outdoor learning and the benefits the outdoor brings to all.

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