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School Ground Greening

The chain link fence of a schoolyard decorated with painted wooden animals.

Our Stories    

About the Program

Since 1995, Evergreen has been partnering with school boards across Canada to transform their school grounds into areas of green learning and community activity. Through a combination of innovative designs and design process, training programs and policy development, we help students, staff and members of the community bring their school grounds to life. This important work extends into schools where Evergreen is helping make them climate-ready, transforming their schoolgrounds into natural oases within communities that can mitigate flood risk and adapt to climate change.

Green school grounds are inspired by the natural world, incorporating elements such as trees, rocks and shade to create a diverse landscape for children to explore. When combined with movable features—or with something as simple as sticks and shovels—they can bring out a child’s inner builder, architect and adventurer.

Our Approach

Evergreen takes a customized approach with each of our school board partners, finding common goals and creating a suite of resources that fits the sustainability needs and learning objectives of each board and its member schools. We also draw on our extensive experience to ensure every project is meaningful, practical and sustainable.  

With the support of a local expert from our national network of design consultants, School Boards can receive assistance with: 

  • Approvals processes – creating clear lines of communication and accountability within the school board
  • Guidance through a child-friendly participatory design process – resulting in coordination between the students, school board, school administrators, facilities staff, external suppliers, parents and the broader community
  • Planning support for project installations – preventing costly mistakes in school-ground modifications and creating high-quality, safe and lasting project designs
  • Design guidelines – providing best practices, standards for design and clarity for all project stakeholders while creating significant efficiencies
  • Education and training – supporting educators at schools and child care centres in the use of and care for their new spaces, and providing the motivation for engaging students in both.

Our Impact

Since 1995, Evergreen’s School Ground Greening program has:

  • Distributed $3,504,243 in grants and supported 6,137 schools directly
  • Engaged 45,467 teachers, parents, administrators and community members
  • Completed school greening projects that have directly benefited 1,296,114 students, teachers and staff
  • Hosted 1,335 workshops and presentations
  • Produced 20+ publications including research, case studies, lesson plans and how-to books and videos
  • Trained 400 educators in hands-on outdoor learning
  • Engaged 1000+ children per year, including bespoke programs for Indigenous and Newcomer families

For Schools:

Congratulations on taking steps to make your school ground greener! Unfortunately, at this time we are unable to directly support individual schools in realizing their school ground greening. If you would like to find out more about how to green your school ground, we recommend the following:

  • Contact your local school board to see if they have any board-level greening support in place or an Eco Schools program.
  • Check out Evergreen’s Tools and Publications for videos, research and reports, lesson plans, how-to guides and more! We recommend using the “Outdoor Learning and Play” subject filter.
  • If creating an outdoor space for young children, review our Landscape and Child Development Design Guide for some ideas!
  • In addition to implementing design elements, draw on the current strengths of the space and implement outdoor education programming within this space. These videos (Video 1 and Video 2) on the use of loose parts in outdoor play, and video on Winter Play could be useful when thinking about programming options in your space.
  • For more programming ideas, you can register for Evergreen's Outdoor Education Newsletter, through which you will receive information on outdoor education classroom resources, workshops and more.

For School Boards:

Want to make your school grounds greener? We partner with school boards across Canada to transform their school grounds.

If you are a school board in Canada, please email us at schoolgroundgreening@evergreen.ca Looking forward to connecting with you! 

See what's possible: