Objectives

1. To provide an outdoor educational space that enables hands-on, experiential learning.

Outcomes:

· Greater awareness by Westglen students of the natural environment in which they live and their relationship to it.

· Greater interest in civic and environmental citizenship and in caring for home, school, and community spaces.

2. To enable more instruction in all subject areas to occur outside rather than inside the walls of the school in all seasons of the year.

Outcomes:

· More classes taking place outdoors.

· Improved concentration in students.

· Greater engagement by students with course material.

Project Vision

Outdoor Learning Space

The creation of an outdoor learning space will convert an underutilized field into a vibrant space that includes an aspen grove, native grassland, and orchard trees. It will also include sensory, pollinator, and vegetable gardens. The emphasis will be on plants native to the region, and on Indigenous culture. The plans for this project has been developed in consultation with the school administration, teachers, and Indigenous support worker, with input from a landscape designer and permaculturist. Our vision for the Westglen Outdoor Learning Space is that it be a beautiful and flexible space; that it facilitate experiential learning about nature connected to grade-specific learning outcomes; that it encourage students’ environmental stewardship; and that it reflect, and be a space for learning about, Indigenous culture. The creation of this outdoor learning space will have a positive environmental impact through the planting of more than thirty trees and the creation of 300 m2 of garden space.

The Outdoor Learning Space will better enable children to observe, respond to, and draw inspiration from the natural world in Language Arts and Fine Arts programming. It will offer an ideal environment for science units on the five senses and units on weather. It will facilitate the study of plants and animals, such as the Grade Two focus on insects, spiders, worms and slugs, the Grade Four unit on plant structure and growth, and the Grade Six unit on Trees and Forests. The tipi-inspired central gathering space, with circular seating, and native grassland and aspen grove areas will enhance social studies curriculum on prairie geography, Indigenous culture and history, and be used by Westglen’s Awasisak Indigenous Student Club.

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