Palermo Public School took part in a ‘de-paving’ initiative by removing a portion of asphalt on school property and replacing it with an inviting greenspace.
Earlier this month, former Palermo students, the Halton Environmental Network and others spent a Saturday at the Oakville school helping break-up and dispose of 78 square-metres of asphalt.
“We are creating a brand new outdoor learning space at Palermo, which is a large kidney bean-shaped island,” says teacher and school project lead Katie Andreou. “It includes learning gardens and outdoor classroom space for our students and community to enjoy. I hope students learn how to inquire, learn to take care of the land and use outdoor education opportunities to strengthen their self-regulation and social emotional learning skills.”
Andreou is hopeful this kind of inviting space will lead to more outdoor learning opportunities at Palermo.
“By providing more structured spaces for classes to use when they are taken outside to learn, we can foster an environmental citizenship and global citizenship mindset,” she says.
Andreou notes this de-paving project addresses key areas of focus in the HDSB’s 2020-2024 Multi-Year Plan
including Environmental Leadership and Indigenous Awareness and Perspectives.
“With more opportunities for cross-curricular outdoor education, we can connect to the land acknowledgement, integrate Indigenous teachings and show students how to care for the land, plants and animals who live here too through inquiry-based and experiential learning opportunities.”
Saanvi, a Grade 4 student, says the space will provide fellow students an exciting outdoor learning space.
“When you go outside to learn, you see different kinds of plants and animals. Sometimes, we go outside to learn about rocks and minerals. We have learned how to take care of the environment around us.”
Says Principal Christine Bejjany: “It has been amazing to watch this project come together with the help of students, staff and the community, and I am really looking forward to supporting the learning that will happen as a result of the change in our school yard.”