BY DEAN MOSES
In an effort to promote the city’s new outdoor learning initiative, Schools Chancellor Richard Carranza visited P.S 143’s outside class in Hinton Park in Corona on Thursday, Oct. 16.
P.S 143 makes use of the neighboring Hinton Park in order to teach students about the importance of staying active, especially during an era when COVID-19 has forced many families into their homes.
The fenced-off section of the park is located directly across the street from the elementary school, where cones, hoops and other markers were set up for a relay race.
The outdoor lesson was underway for about 10 minutes when Carranza arrived to observe the activity. The chancellor waved, clapped and cheered on the young students as they showed off, sprinting up and down the grassland.
Much to the delight of the children and onlookers, Carranza even got involved with the excitement, performing a lap in the relay by skipping in place before darting along the obstacle course, mimicking the mini athletes’ moves.
After the class, a press conference was held in P.S 143’s playground, where Principal Justine Lucas welcomed all attendees to the school and expressed her gratitude for the ability to use the outside space in Hinton Park. Soon thereafter, the chancellor took to the podium where he stressed the importance of these activities.
“I am excited to be here at P.S 143 to highlight the wonderful outdoor learning that we have. I haven’t seen it done any better than what I just saw here. We have over 111 sites now that are utilizing outdoor learning and it’s an integral part of how we not only keep our students and our staff safe, but also how we give our students the opportunity to flex their muscles,” Carranza said.
He concluded by emphasizing the value of being able to spend time outside during our lockdown age.
“By doing what they were supposed to do and staying in the safety of their own homes, it has made it possible for us to have in-person learning like this. But that also means that many children may have been unable to explore the world around them. That is why this program is so important, not just to P.S 143, but to all of the children of the city of New York.”