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A calming place

Article and photos by Jared Story

Sargent Park School students can now be nurtured in nature.

On May 29, Sargent Park officially opened its new outdoor learning space. Located in the nursery to Grade 9 school’s courtyard, the outdoor classroom is a project many years in the making.

“About 20 years ago some staff members here decided it would be really cool to get this going. They had what we call a vision or a dream,” said Sargent Park principal Luba Krosney in her speech to students and staff.

“Over the last four-and-a-half years we’ve been writing grants, fundraising and working with you (the students) when you go out and help fundraise. All of that money got funnelled and helped build the classroom you now see in front of you.”

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The outdoor learning space – which includes a variety of plants, a sandbox, patio furniture and many places for sitting and learning – is the vision of Sargent Park’s education for sustainable development committee.

In addition to monies raised by Sargent Park’s student council and parent-teacher association, funding for the project came from Winnipeg School Division, Manitoba Education and Training, Walmart Canada, Home Depot Canada Foundation, the Winnipeg Police Service and a community incentive grant from Daniel McIntyre Coun. Cindy Gilroy. Rona provided the patio tables.

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“All the literature we’ve read talks about outdoor spaces helping students with self-regulation, with anxiety, a de-stressing and calming place,” Krosney said.

“We have an Indigenous Youth Leadership group that can smudge out here as well. It can be an alternative learning space or just an opportunity to interact with nature. It’s a multi-use space, but it’s all about wellness and helping students achieve wellness and reconnect with their environment.”

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Photo caption: Adults, left to right: Vera Big George (vice-principal), Tiffany Perrault (teacher/ESD committee), Sandra Magalhaes (teacher/ESD committee), Sue MacFarlane Penner (teacher/ESD committee), Cathy Collins (WSD trustee), Luba Krosney (principal/ESD committee), Lilja Tonnellier (PTA chair), Horacio Medeiros (PTA member), Lucy Farias (teacher/ESD committee), Balwinder Anwidh (head custodian), Dino DiFabrizio (vice-principal), Caroline Boyd (teacher/ESD committee). Students, left to right: Maria Fabros, Grade 9, Inigo Lao, Grade 9, Arthur Bautista, Grade 9, Elenore Freitas, Grade 1.




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