Deep Learning project leads to new outdoor learning space, garden at Immaculate CES

student holding butterfly

June 13, 2019

With an oversized pair of scissors came an oversized roar as Immaculate Conception Catholic Elementary School in East City Peterborough celebrated the ribbon cutting of the school’s new outdoor classroom and garden space.

What began as a Deep Learning inquiry from a group of Grade 8 students dubbed the Be Well group, has culminated in a series of student accomplishments throughout the year, teacher Mike Martone explained.

First there was the Be Well Physical group, which spearheaded active school travel, intermural sports, bike rodeos and other physical activities throughout the year. Then there was the Be Well – A Caring Education group, which focused on spreading self-regulation and mindfulness activities. Finally, there was the Be Well Nature group, which tapped into a partnership with Peterborough Green Up and a Trillium Foundation Grow Grant to plan and design an outdoor classroom and garden space along with the Board’s facility services.

“An environment that fosters mindfulness is what the outdoor classroom is all about, and in the future, our prime focus will be just that,” explained Grade 8 student Autumn Konkle, in front of a crowd that included MPP Dave Smith, Director of Education Michael Nasello, city councillor Gary Baldwin, classmates, teachers, school and Board administrators and community partners.

“We hope that this outdoor classroom can help Immaculate students for years and years to come. This proves that a school as small as ours can make a big difference and no matter what your skill level is, you can still plan, learn and create.”

Smith thanked and congratulated the students on behalf of the Government of Ontario.

“I am very proud of your accomplishments in planning an outdoor classroom and designing and building your own garden. The valuable skills that you have gained will assist you in your future endeavours,” Smith said.

In addition to the ribbon cutting, the school celebrated the unveiling by releasing butterflies into the garden.