Kenora Catholic Invests In Outdoor Learning Environment at St. Louis School

St. Louis School TeamStudents at St. Louis SVision for Playgroundchool Architectural Drawing of Playgroundwill have a new outdoor learning environment when they return to school in September. The Kenora Catholic District School Board has allocated $240,000 within the Capital Plan to upgrade the existing playground, fulfilling the vision of students.

"Our students have been involved in the planning and design of the new Outdoor Learning Environment every step of the way," said Maureen Frankcom, Principal. "They have thought carefully about what they want to see in their new playground in terms of the kinds of play they want to have. Classes of students have researched other playgrounds, they have run surveys polling what elements they want to be included, and they have also provided their feedback on colour choices."

Students, staff and parents from St. Louis School have been involved in the design and planning of the new Outdoor Learning Environment since 2016. The School Council has instrumental in fundraising for the new space and will be donating a welcome gate for the entrance of the playground.

"This capital investment is important to the well-being of our students at St. Louis School, and I am pleased to finally see this project get off the ground," said Phyllis Eikre, Director of Education. "The new green space will allow for additional physical education programming and will help the educational team extend the physical education curriculum, and experiential learning outside and into nature. I want to thank the students, parents and the school community for all of their input into the design of this new learning space."

The new Outdoor Learning Environment will include accessible swings, climbing tires, sodded open play areas, a stained-glass shade structure with picnic tables, a sand ship, paths and bridges, a water channel, raised planters, a music wall and an outdoor stage.

"In considering which elements would be kept from the former playground, we heard from the students that they wanted to keep the gaga ball pit, and also that they wanted to have the new saucer design for the swings," said Frankcom. "The primary children love the idea of the mud kitchen for imaginative play. We are all looking forward to the outdoor stage to showcase the talents of students and extend the curriculum outdoors."

The school community provided a presentation to Trustees at the June 19th Board Meeting highlighting the architectural drawings and upgrades.

Frankcom said, "we are grateful for the learning opportunities this new playground will provide for our students. They have put their minds and hearts into this project right from the start, and we are thankful that this new space will soon become a reality for our school community. Thank you to our students, parents, teachers and the Kenora Catholic District School Board."

The construction is set for the summer of 2018 and is targeted for completion at the end of August.