“Someone is sitting in the shade today because someone planted a tree a long time ago” – Les Brown
Lord Kitchener Elementary sits at the high-traffic intersection of King Edward and Blenheim. In 2012 the school seismically rebuilt. Thankfully, provincial funding provided a safe, new structure, but it left little for the outdoor space. The PAC Sustainability Committee saw this challenge as an opportunity to transform this noisy, dusty site into an oasis where city kids can feel connected to nature and advocated for space for an Outdoor Classroom. The Lord Kitchener Outdoor Classroom Food Garden & Green space was opened in October 2013. This teacher-supported space was researched and designed by Kitchener students and managed by an active committee of parent volunteers. This space gives children of all backgrounds and abilities a chance to learn about native plants, insects and wildlife and the food cycle. The heart of the Outdoor Classroom is VSB 39’s first Rain Garden, supported by a 2012 grant from TD Bank. The opportunities for creativity, learning and engaging our community are endless.
Lord Kitchener students will leave a true legacy as they become our future leaders in sustainability. Citizens in an urban environment are too often separated from nature and the time spent in the Outdoor Classroom allows children to acquire empathy they need to understand the complexity of nature’s web and how humans are connected to all living organisms on this earth. In this space, students, families and neighbours are connected to an ecologically diverse environment where they can learn about native plants, animal & insect habitat, and food security.