Experiential Learning Blossoms at School Gardens

Experiential Learning Blossoms at School Gardens
Posted on 11/16/2021
Experiential Learning Blossoms at School Gardens

This fall, school gardens across the OCDSB have been buzzing with activity. Students are putting down soil, planting seeds, and preparing for another year of hands-on learning.

It’s all part of a partnership with Growing Up Organic (GUO), a garden-based educational program delivered by Canadian Organic Growers in Ottawa, which aims to foster food literacy, healthy eating habits, increased food skills and environmental awareness among children and youth. 

Over the past five years, this initiative has grown to include over 60 OCDSB schools, with 10 new schools joining this year.

GUO supports schools by installing garden beds, delivering supplies, and sharing free curriculum-linked educational resources – everything students and staff need to bring the gardens to life. In non-pandemic times, GUO facilitators offer a series of 7 in person workshops, to support teachers and students in integrating experiential garden education in the classroom.  Adapting to COVID-19, students flex their green thumbs by tending to the gardens and participating in virtual workshops on topics from “Garlic & Compost” to “Planting a Salad Garden.” When harvest time arrives, students can enjoy the fresh vegetables and fruits they have grown. 

The project has created spaces for experiential learning to blossom. Pinecrest Public School introduced school gardens more than a decade ago, with support from GUO. Recently, they partnered to add new garden beds designed as geometric shapes, creating an interactive outdoor learning area.

“The outdoor gardens are providing an opportunity for student-led, experiential, and hands-on learning,” says Principal Naya Markanastasakis. “Student voice and school-wide engagement will be at the centre of this learning.”

Check out the gallery below for photos from Pinecrest and other schools across the district.

We look forward to watching this project unfold at the newest participating schools: Roberta Bondar P.S., Carleton Heights P.S., Queen Elizabeth P.S., Bayshore P.S., York Street P.S., Barrhaven P.S., Sawmill Creek E.S., Arch Street P.S., Queen Mary P.S. and Carson Grove E.S. Visit the GUO website to view the full list of schools.

Thank you to Growing Up Organic for supporting our schools in building a culture of innovation and social responsibility!

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