Outdoor Classroom and Maryland Green Schools     Green School Logo  


Jones Lane Elementary School (JLES) was certified as a Maryland Green School in 2014 by the Maryland Association for Environmental and Outdoor Education (MAEOE) and re-certified as a Green School in 2018. The nationally-recognized Green Schools program promotes responsible environmental stewardship practices and increases awareness of how our relationship with the environment ultimately impacts public health and society.  


A key component of our Green School certification and outdoor education program is our outdoor classroom. The classroom, begun in 2001 as a nature trail for the use of JLES students, has evolved into a large, grassy area, located on a downhill slope behind the school, and backing up to the Potomac Watershed. The outdoor classroom boasts two sets of stairs, a terraced area with native plant and butterfly gardens, and a conservation area containing young trees and a bluebird box trail.


According to MAEOE, an outdoor classroom improves student performance. Studies show that children enjoy learning more and retain information longer when hands-on activities are incorporated into the curriculum. Students in schools with outdoor classrooms show improved student attendance, greater motivation to achieve, and score higher on tests of reading, writing, math, science, and social studies as well as tests of critical thinking. An outdoor classroom can allow students to refine skills in scientific observation, data collection and analysis and provide a means to serve students with different learning styles and support students with learning disabilities.


At JLES, our outdoor classroom is used by all grade levels. Kindergarten classes study bluebird life cycles from nest building and egg laying through fledgling, by repeated visits to the bluebird nesting boxes. Fourth grade students undertake a stream study to assess the health of the creek and the microscopic organisms found in its waters. 


 Bluebird House          Stream Study



 Plant Garden          Paper Making


JLES is also committed to teaching sustainability and eco-consciousness by having a variety of recycling programs in our school and community. There are recycling projects in partnership with Terracycle and Colorcycle. JLES also participates in the SERT program (School Energy and Recycling Team) to help students and staff improve energy conservation and recycling efforts throughout the entire school. These programs are extremely popular with the students.

SERT Logo(2)  


For more information, or to become involved with the Outdoor Classroom, please contact:

 The Outdoor Classroom Committee, JLES PTA,  greenschool.jlespta@gmail.com

Debra Tehrani, Staff Liaison, JLES Green Schools Committee, Debra_M_ShoaeeTehrani@mcpsmd.org

Stephanie MacArthur, Staff Liaison, JLES Green Schools Committee, Stephanie_S_MacArthur@mcpsmd.org