Quality Service Learning in the Outdoor Classroom

Outdoor Classroom- Planting edible medicinal perennials to diversify the Elementary School Classroom
Students participate in planting Mandala Edible Medicinal Perennial Gardens at UCDSB Elementary school

Quality Service Learning in the Outdoor Classroom

Quality service-learning experiences are valuable for students and educators, as well as for community partners who are directly participating in their local service project. Quality service learning in schools motivates the sharing of individual skill sets, hands-on experiences while exercising the collaborative process for a multi-partner project to be lifted off the ground. Student-led initiatives brings forth opportunities for success in entrepreneurship, community building and development; especially when participants share intentions that focus on reaching out to support regenerative relationships between the school and their extended community.

Project example of service learning in the outdoor classroom:

A community justice not for profit organization partners with an elementary school to assist in establishing the design of an outdoor classroom’s Peace Circle Garden. The Peace Garden is planted in a circle to set up the outdoor space forthe practice of restorative communication (Knowledge Sharing Circles) and conflict management in the outdoor classroom. Everyone in the school participated in the design of this project alongside the participation of restorative communication facilitators of the partner organization. Throughout the design process; the students, teachers and administrators exercised healthy communication practices -inclusion, active listening, suspend judgement, empathy while passing the talking piece- in the restorative communication circle process. Each teacher and student's voice was heard (k to 6) and had an integral part in the establishment of the ‘peace garden' outdoor classroom design. <