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Outdoor Learning Spaces At Prospect Lake Elementary School

Picture of Gabby Blackwell
Outdoor Learning Spaces At Prospect Lake Elementary School
by Gabby Blackwell - Wednesday, 6 February 2013, 11:14 AM

Engaging Students In Their Learning:

Outdoor Learning Spaces At Prospect Lake Elementary School

Prospect Lake Elementary has embarked on a plan we hope will allow ours students to become more engaged and self directed in their learning. Our plan is to involve them in activities that are generally outdoors and connected to the environment. To this end we are creating/building outdoor learning "spaces" on our school grounds. This will include eight garden plots and associated composting and working areas. Adjacent to this will be areas with benches, and sitting areas where classes, groups or individuals can work. We will plant indigenous trees and shrubs to enhance these learning spaces. In addition a natural playground will be built and a trail developed that leads to areas in the forest where teachers can convene classes. The trail will continue through the forest along the edge of a fish bearing stream then end at the school property line. In addition we plan to resurrect the Rain Garden in the front of the school.

Our staff has been developing, and will continue to develop curricula that takes advantage of these outdoor learning spaces and the natural setting of the school.  We believe this will allow students to become more engaged and self directed in their learning and will better prepare them for the future.  In addition to children developing a strong connection to their learning and their school we hope they will develop a deeper understanding of the natural environment in which they live, thus allowing them to make more informed decisions in their adult lives. To enhance the development of this curricula, and allow us to take full advantage of these learning spaces, our staff has committed to increasing our understanding of inquiry based and place based learning through professional development.

Our construction plan has been divided into three phases: We will complete the garden area first in order to be ready for spring planting, the natural play area second, the trees/benches sitting areas third and the trail and forest groves last. The entire project is estimated to cost approximately $30 000. We would like to complete the entire project this spring but much of our funding will come from grants which we have not yet received.  Currently our funds stand at $12 000. 

Our plan emerged from the enthusiasm and commitment of the teaching staff of Prospect and the support of our parent community. We have raised about one third of the anticipated costs and have a set of plans which has been approved by the District. We are ready to begin construction but we need your help!!

How Parents Can Help With This Project

The school will coordinate the construction of this project but we are counting on the generosity and skills of our parent community to help us achieve our goal. If you are able to contribute or help in the areas listed below, or in any other way that we have not considered, please contact the school by email ( or by phone (250 727 3314). We will create an inventory of “people and products” and contact you by email or phone.



Materials (wood, chips, sand, plants.....),

Machines (truck, backhoe.....)


Carpentry, fencing, landscaping.......

Fund Raising:

Seeking Grants & Sponsors


Work parties, organizing.......

Rain Garden:

Weeding, pruning......