Medicine Wheel Garden Outdoor Classroom
Jack Layton Award | Runner-Up
Our vision for Canada is “working together shaping tomorrow/travaillons ensemble vers demain” in building cultural, social, economic, and environmental pathways of learning with our school learning community of students, staff, families, and community members and in sharing our collaboration supporting Canada’s sustainable future together. In working together as a school learning community to plant, maintain, harvest, share, and learn from our Medicine Wheel Garden, we plan to respond to the Truth and Reconciliation Calls To Action #63 iii: “building student capacity for intercultural understanding, empathy, and mutual respect” in learning from and working with indigenous educators and elders and connecting to traditional teachings and in continuing to build on our school’s environmental actions from 2008 to present. Building cultural, social, economic, and environmental pathways of learning together is important to our community as our school site is located on the traditional territory of the Mississaugas of the New Credit First Nation, within a rural area of the Humber River Watershed and located in close proximity to the Niagara Escarpment and Oak Ridges Moraine protected areas.
In Fall 2016, our school was invited to be one of 15 schools of 253 Peel District School Board schools participating in our school board’s First Nation, Métis, and Inuit Strategic Plan in addressing the 2015 Calls for Action of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada (recommendations 62 and 63). In connecting with our continuing participation and in building cultural, social, economic, and environmental pathways of learning with our school learning community of students, staff, families, community members, indigenous educators and elders, we have created a visual landscape plan for a Medicine Wheel Garden Outdoor Classroom on our school site which includes: A centred medicine wheel garden with indigenous plants surround by stone seating and an outdoor classroom frame; 9 local food gardens including 6 raised-bed gardens (for herbs, vegetables, fruit, and edible flowers) and 3 in-ground gardens (a Three Sisters garden, an indigenous berry garden, and a pumpkin patch); 4 outer garden areas with indigenous plants, shrubs, and trees connected to the 4 cardinal directions of our centred Medicine Wheel Garden; A wildlife observation/inquiry area with feeders, water supply, and log stump seating; Interpretative learning signs; Pathways connecting to our natural forest, meadow, and wetland habitats and other planting areas we’ve been adding to from 2008 to present. Our Medicine Wheel Garden Outdoor Classroom project will continue to support our focus on the leadership of our youth as responsible citizens and engage all students and staff as we welcome families, community members, indigenous educators and elders to join us in planting, maintaining, harvesting, sharing, and learning together with us supporting Canada’s sustainable future together.