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The Many Faces (and Places) of Outdoor Education

Outdoor classrooms boast a long list of benefits that will exist well beyond the pandemic.  

Published on October 14, 2020

Across the country, more and more educators are embracing the idea of outdoor learning. During COVID-19, the space for physical distancing and air circulation that outdoor classrooms provide has never been more important. But these spaces also boast a long list of benefits that will exist well beyond the pandemic.  

Outdoor classrooms and climate-ready school grounds provide opportunities for increased physical activity, a strong connection with nature and increased climate resilience.  

For over 25 years, Evergreen has collaborated with schools and schoolboards across Canada to transform school grounds into vibrant outdoor spaces for learning and community gathering. Evergreen Design Consultants work in board partnerships to bring the projects to life, by helping school communities realize their ideal outdoor learning environment. Each learning space is uniquely tailored to its community, using Evergreen’s child-friendly participatory design process. 

No two outdoor classrooms are exactly alike. Each incorporates different elements of its environment to create an ideal space for children learn and explore. We’ve gathered five examples of outdoor learning solutions, from nature-based play structures to outdoor chalkboards and more.

Governor Semple School, Winnipeg 

At the Governor Semple School in Winnipeg, completed in 2018 by Evergreen Design Consultant Tayler Bishop, children can explore and play on a log adventure area. The school’s grounds also feature an outdoor learning space made out of limestone quarry blocks. 

Steven MacLean School, Ottawa 

In Ottawa, the Steve Maclean School’s grounds feature a learning space complete with an outdoor chalk board, completed in 2019 by Evergreen Design Consultant Jeff Kaster.

Centennial Public School, Kingston 

Centennial Public School in Kingston, completed in 2019 by Evergreen Design Consultant Terence Radford, features a log-based play structure and wooden play house. 

New Central Public School, Oakville 

In Oakville, the New Central Public School’s grounds have a sand-filled play area and limestone blocks for children to sit and play on, completed in 2019 by Evergreen Design Consultant Robert Cram.

Milliken Public School, Toronto 

Milliken Public School’s grounds, completed in 2019 by Evergreen Design Consultant Daniel Johnson, include a log-based play structure for children to enjoy.