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Securing a Future for Early Years outdoors in Waterloo, Ont.

Learn how two underserved schools in Waterloo, Ont. had their grounds transformed with Early Years students in mind.
Top image caption: Centennial Public School's transformed grounds for its Early Years students.

Published on March 13, 2017

At Centennial Public School and Rockway Public School in Waterloo, Ont., teachers and parents were looking to enhance their school grounds for early learners. Recognizing the importance of outdoor play, the schools imagined a space with improved shade, creative stimulation and natural features.

Centennial Public School reimagined their grounds with planters for their students.
Centennial Public School reimagined their grounds with planters for their students.

With the generous support of the Lyle S. Hallman Foundation, Evergreen, in partnership with the Waterloo Region District School Board (WRDSB), led the transformation of these two underserved Early Years school grounds into sustainable, ecological and developmentally-appropriate outdoor play and learning environments. With the installation of the outdoor classrooms, teachers have reported increased inquiry-based learning outdoors along with more cooperation among students.

Rockway school in Waterloo.
Rockway Public School developed new active spaces for their kindergarten students

A kindergarten student plays with the new activations at Rockway Public School.

The physical transformations were supported by a robust capacity building program that saw teachers develop the requisite skills, through workshops and training sessions, to successfully leverage the benefits of outdoor play (PDF, 37.4KB) and learning in childhood development.

The reach of the program was further expanded to include the delivery of guided training and natural loose-parts play (PDF, 697KB) materials to 21 schools in the WRDSB. The comprehensive guidelines developed through this process have an even broader impact by helping to set the stage for further school ground projects across the WRDSB.

Rockway school's reimagined school grounds included natural features.
Rockway school's reimagined school grounds included natural features.

Thanks to this partnership, schools at the WRDSB are creating rich and stimulating outdoor experiences for their students for years to come.

Check out our resource Small Wonders: Designing Vibrant, Natural Landscapes for Early Childhood (PDF, 2.51MB) for tips on getting started with your school’s greening project.

Interested in collaborating with Evergreen? Click here for more information.