The work of greening our school continues. With financial assistance from the City of Ottawa, Evergreen and TD Friends of the Environment, we have planted twenty trees on our property and have added raised beds to nine of these trees. In the process, we have created a community partnership that includes our funders, the Ottawa Catholic School Board, Carleton University and our parents, staff and students and two wonderful resource people from Evergreen – Ann Coffee and Andrew Harvey.
We are now working on Phase III, the construction of two outdoor classrooms. Research shows that getting students outside helps them to learn better, keeps them attentive, encourages their imagination and improves the overall class environment (Globe and Mail, September 24, 2013).
The planning phase is really interesting. Ann and Andrew have always based their planning for design of our green spaces on student consultation. Conversations with our students happened before any trees were planted and now have taken place to help come up with a design for the outdoor classrooms.
We have a long way to go, but I would say these consultations are the most important part. Their ideas and opinions breathe life into the plans and proposals we are putting forward. What a great way to make a permanent mark on your school!