The group of parents and teachers aiming to break ground in early May for a new outdoor classroom at Canning’s Glooscap Elementary School said they’ve had to jump through some hoops themselves to make it happen.
“It’s quite a process and not as easy as we first thought,” said parent Alicia Rand, who heads up the project’s committee.
The group is taking their ideas to the next level with the help of Tim Amos, who used to head up the horticultural department at NSCC Kingstec and helped create a plot plan.
Rand said the tender to build the structure was just issued from the Annapolis Valley Regional Centre for Education, while they finalize the details for the pathways.
“We’ve had to make some adjustments here and there, where things we wanted ... was deemed a hazard, unsafe,” said Rand. “We’re really hoping to stick to our plan as much as we can.”
“We live in a rural area and have access to trails, but in the winter you can’t access them and at school there are time constraints, so we’re helping the kids to be closer to the school so that teachers and kids have access all year-round,” she added.
“An outdoor classroom is full of so many possibilities. Children can engage their whole body, including their senses in their learning,” said primary teacher Anne- Marie Lewis. “I hope this will inspire a deeper curiosity and appreciation for the natural world. Much of the learning we do in the indoors can be done outdoors and can engage different learners who might otherwise be disengaged.”
In addition to a shelter and a natural playscape, the outdoor classroom will include a water collection feature that students can play with, as well as water for the garden beds each grade will oversee. The school’s Grade 5 class is working on their legacy project, which is a bee hotel.
The group initially budgeted the cost to be about $55,000, but since then costs have gone up, said Rand. The group has received an Aspiring School grant in the amount of $31,500, $500 from Canning Recreation, $3,000 from the County of Kings, $500 from Project Wild and $500 from the Sheffield Mills Community Association.