Through the generous support of the school community, St. George’s has been able to offer our students learning tools and equipment that are second to none. Each year, we embark upon an Annual Giving Campaign to raise funds for projects that enhance and enrich the student experience. This year’s Annual Giving priorities have been identified as the purchase of additional flexible, dynamic furniture for the High School and the launch of the second phase of the Outdoor Classroom at the Elementary School.
Creating Modern Learning Spaces with Dynamic Furniture
A recent article in University Affairs praising the virtues of ergonomic classroom furniture demonstrates how St. George’s was once again ahead of the curve having transformed two classrooms into modern learning environments last year. Chairs on wheels, modular desks, and Smart Boards enable new forms of teaching and learning. One of our high school math teachers, Jeanne Gan, explains how this comes to life in her classroom:
“I love the flexibility of the new furniture in my classroom. This new, bright environment allows students to learn in a non-static space with ergonomically designed chairs that can swivel and move when needed. The furniture also allows us to easily reconfigure the classroom to form groups for various types of interactions and discussions. The mini-white boards give the students an opportunity to share their work within groups and display it to the class.”
Outdoor Classrooms Cultivate Opportunities for Learning
The launch of the second phase of the Outdoor Classroom dovetails into a community-wide initiative at St. George’s to be a leader in sustainability. The Outdoor Classroom will enable students to participate in hands-on learning projects and will use nature to bring classroom discussions to life.
Research shows that playing and learning in a natural outdoor environment brings a wealth of benefits for children including increased resiliency, academic achievement, and participation in self-directed, authentic learning. Danielle Delhaes, Coordinator, Community Learning and Sustainability Programs, explains the value of outdoor learning:
"At St. George’s, we believe in providing students with the best learning environment to support their development and growth as responsible and engaged citizens of the global community. The creation of our outdoor classrooms serves not only to provide a naturalized, and often edible, play and study area for students, but they also offer an oasis to local wildlife.
As such, our playgrounds are rich in biodiversity and offer numerous opportunities for teachers and students to inquire about their world in an authentic and multidisciplinary context. For example, Grade 4 students are learning to self-regulate and manage their stress through breathing techniques and aromatherapy. They enjoyed growing and collecting organic herbs to make their own aromatherapy sachets, which they keep at their desk and use as needed.
Grade 3 students also learn about the Iroquoian society as part of their Geography, History, and Citizenship Education program. They will now be able to understand the brilliant interdependency model of the traditional native Three Sister’s garden as they design, plant and care for their own garden of squash, beans, and corn in their own playground.
From the perspective of sustainable living, when a school playground is naturalized and cultivated to offer quality opportunities for learning and inquiry while supporting life and beauty, the whole community benefits."