School Grounds TRAnSfoRmAtiOn  
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Evaluating the entire site

Doing a comprehensive evaluation of your entire site is essential because the results of your investigation together with the results of the people surveys are the tools you will need to use for redesigning your grounds.

Planning considerations

Before drawing up your plans, you will need to find out what practical aspects of planning you need to consider such as:

  • school board standards for health and safety
  • school board policies on grounds maintenance
  • CSA play equipment safety standards
  • school board policy on sun protection
  • visibility guidelines
  • snow removal and snow storage requirements
  • emergency vehicle access and turning space regulations
  • the location of underground utilities and services such as:

    • hydro
    • sewer
    • phone
    • water
    • cable
    • gas
Planning for all seasons

Many school grounds projects are designed for the warmer months. Try to plan your projects for all seasons. For example, you can transform raised beds for flowers, vegetables and herbs into snow and ice sculpture gardens and create spaces for Autumn and Winter study such as gardens with plants that retain berries and seeds for wildlife, bird-feeding stations, and shelter belts. Outdoor classrooms can also be set up for studying snow crystals, the insulating and reflective properties of snow, animal tracks and hibernation. A weather station can also be built for students to record the daily changes in temperature, precipitation, humidity, wind direction and wind speed.

Identifying resources

Make a list of the materials, equipment, skills and expertise you will need to build your projects and identify what resources are available in your community. There are many experts in the community who may be willing to give you free professional advice. You can ask foresters and municipal parks planners to help you choose the right tree or project for your site. Donations of plants, building materials and labour can often be obtained by contacting businesses in your community.

Networking works!

You may find schools that have already implemented similar projects to the ones you have in mind through school grounds transformation groups, resources and websites. You can start sharing ideas and experiences with them on planning, fundraising, acquiring resources, community involvement and educational use.

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