Why Open Space?
Open Space Education is Richmond's only outdoor education program that combines art education and nature-based learning. We collaborate with professional teaching artists on curriculum that cultivates adaptability, resilience, and creativity as life skills. They call on core principles from their careers to teach artistry, the cognitive processes so important in the arts, which Elliot Eisner's research finds are critically important in all walks of life. He recommends that artistry serve as an important remedy to the homogenization and mechanization of schooling today.
Richard Louv’s work points to direct exposure to nature as essential for a child’s healthy physical and emotional development. Natural settings are essential for healthy child development because they stimulate all the senses and integrate informal play with formal learning. Our classes explore open spaces throughout the city. In our classes, students make connections between art, their daily lives, and the great outdoors.
Senses are heightened. Skills are learned and sharpened. We develop artistry, critical thinking, and communications. We prepare students for enhanced success in any endeavor ahead.
“I love that the teachers are active artists and creators outside of class. And the incorporation of nature into artwork while being outside is a major plus." —Open Space parent/guardian