Helping Schools in Houston Create Outdoor Learning Spaces

In 2020, the Republic Services Charitable Foundation provided a National Neighborhood Promise grant to the nonprofit Avenue CDC, to create spaces where students can thrive through outdoor play and learning spaces at eight Houston schools.

Over the past year, Avenue has completed projects at five of these schools – and expect to complete the final three projects at Burbank Elementary School, Fonville Middle School, and YES PREP Northline Campus in the next few months.

Here’s a glimpse of the projects completed to date:

  • Lyons Elementary School: Inspired by Alice in Wonderland, Avenue created a space where students can explore, create and play. Additionally, they cleaned up and beautified the entire area with painted railings, new plants, trees, and flowers. The result is an incredible space that more than 1,000 students at the school can enjoy.

  • Northline Elementary School: Home to students and animals – like chickens, hens, and rabbits – Northline Elementary needed a space better suited to meet the needs of both. Avenue created a sensory playground that includes fun, brightly colored shapes made from recycled materials, herb and flower gardens, a music corner featuring a xylophone, fruit trees, and a variety of rich textures, like rocks, wood, and artificial grass.

  • Durkee Elementary School: With a focus on refreshing the exterior, Avenue planted trees and flowers painted both corridors at the entrance of the school, refreshed metal picnic tables around the area, and retouched the benches.

  • Farias EarlyChildhood: Avenue focused on revitalizing the school’s garden with low-maintenance and low-cost improvements. The result is the Desert Garden, which serves as a beautiful, outdoor gathering space for children, families, and staff. The garden includes education points, so students can learn about the diversity of desert plants, and a fun maze, giving kids the opportunity to challenge themselves while interacting with nature.

  • Janowski Elementary School: With the hope of creating a functional, outdoor space for students and teachers, a run-down courtyard was transformed into a certified wildlife habitat that will also serve as an outdoor classroom throughout the year. The space will be used to teach students about ecosystems, the lifecycle of frogs and other animals, and sustainable practices.

To learn more, read the Republic Services blog here.