Cameron Street Public School's Yard Revitalization
Created September 29, 2011 by Deborah Shackell
Resuscitating the pride in Cameron Street Public School and School Community
**CPR** – **C**ameron St. **P**ublic School’s Yard **R**evitalization
The School Council at Cameron Street Public School have been dreaming. Dreaming of a school with new and safe tarmac for play...dreaming of warm and welcoming entrances...dreaming of a community vegetable garden...dreaming of ‘resuscitating’ our school yard! Help us realize that dream.
Cameron Street Public School has a School Council made up of parents, community members and school staff that are DRIVING CHANGE. We are ambitious, enthusiastic and motivated to make a difference for our children and our community. (Check us out at: http://cspsschoolcouncil.blogspot.com/)
In the community of Collingwood, Cameron Street Public School is known for **two** contrasting things: being a leader in **environmental education** and having a **school yard that is desperately in need of an update**.
**ENVIRONMENTAL EDUCATION:** We are a leader in the applied education of protecting the environment. CSPS is proud to be rated an Earth School II under the GREEN Schools Canada program with over 1800 environmental projects recognized by SEEDS. We have an active Environment Club that has initiated many projects and has been recognized by receiving the prestigious Lieutenant Governor’s Award for Youth Achievement.
**SCHOOL YARD:** Our school has been a part of the town of Collingwood for nearly 45 years. We love the history of our school, but we really need an update. Many components of our school’s exterior have not been changed, maintained or updated since they were built. Gardens are overgrown, entrances are unwelcoming, tarmac is full of holes, playground equipment is old and small and our big spacious yard is underutilized.
We are NOT looking for tens of thousands of dollars for new playground equipment. We have a unique vision to create natural play spaces where children will have fun and learn. This idea fits in nicely with our leadership initiatives in environmental education:
_“Natural Playgrounds should be the standard for all our playgrounds. They truly connect children with nature through play and are a sort of classroom for the next generation of environmental stewards.” - Dr. David Suzuki._
We ARE also looking to:
- Complete our outdoor classroom (this includes installation of the mural, planting a sensory garden, planting bushes for screening, a rain garden)
- Re-landscape the front of our school
- Improve all entrances into the building
- Create a natural playground
- Utilize the large alcove areas of our yard for a community vegetable garden
- Paint bike racks
- Re-surface baseball diamonds
- Re-surface all tarmac areas on the yard and paint playground games/stencils
As a School Council we have started working toward revitalizing our school yard and our initiative is already receiving community support:
- Local artist, Allison Hill has created a beautiful mural to be the backdrop of our outdoor classroom. We will work with students to complete this project.
- The Environment Network has worked with us on fundraising and planning our outdoor classroom and a possible rain garden
- We have the support of three local AVIVA brokers
- Dave Wood and Allison Bond at Envision Tatham donated their time and talents to create a plan for our outdoor classroom. We continue to have their support as consultants on a variety of our projects. They have met with us and regularly provide us with guidance and advice.
- We have been working with our School Board Trustee to have our tarmac replaced under the School Board’s budget
- Free Spirit Gardens has partnered with us to create our Community Vegetable garden. They bring extensive experience as well as a base of volunteers to aid with the project.
Our goal is to revitalize our space so that students and families are proud and to create a space that can be utilized by our larger community. We are located centrally in the town of Collingwood, surrounded by residences and directly across the street from a variety store. Many families and community members visit our school grounds after school and on the weekend to eat items purchased at the variety store, to play on the equipment, shoot hoops, play baseball or soccer. There is a wonderful feeling of community at our school, but this extra use also leads to more wear and tear on our yard than other area schools. Our yard needs resuscitating!