Envisioning a Greener Schoolyard



Forest Valley Elementary School wanted to redevelop the schoolyard so the green space would be an oasis of student learning and wellbeing. The School Council needed to raise funds and understand how students wanted to use and enjoy the space.


With the support of teachers and the Parent Council, we met with the EcoBees – students committed to sustainability – to create this portrait of the students’ vision.

The EcoBees shared their ideas with a teacher’s help and we sketched those ideas right before their eyes. When the vision board was complete, the EcoBees pointed at each other’s ideas, jumped up and down with excitement, and were thrilled to see their vision come to life.

The vision board was displayed in the school and was a source of inspiration for the redesigned playground. The school also won an award for how they engaged the school community in the process.

We wanted to get the kids involved in outdoor greening projects. Jennifer listened to the kids’ ideas. As they were talking she captured all the thoughts of every individual child and really got the feeling of what the kids want. As Leah came in she said, “If our schoolyard could look like this it would be a dream!”

We’re going to hang this in the hallway with paper on the sides so people who weren’t able to participate can continue to comment on what they feel they need in the school ground. Then, we’re going to take this and put it into a plan of action.

Another way this helped us as adults is that, you sit there and think “Oh, what can we do for this outdoor greening?” Now that we’ve seen this we can just pop out ideas and think, “Oh yeah, we can do that.” There’s things on this that we can do to make the schoolyard a better place for them. This was amazing.

Heather Donoghue, Teacher, Forest Valley Elementary School

Cathy Priestman, President, Parent Council, Forest Valley Elementary School

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