St. David Catholic Elementary School

Introduction

Our project

At St. David School, we will engage in outdoor learning as a pedagogical approach to enrich learning, enhance school engagement and improve student health and well-being. We will spend time outside playing, exploring and learning. This will be a regular and significant part of every student’s day. We will extend the learning environment beyond the desk and four walls and use the outdoor space as part of our regular teaching practice. We will commit to providing opportunities for our students and teachers to interact and learn in a learning environment in which the boundaries between classroom and outdoor learning, and teacher and student, are renegotiated to stimulate enhanced teaching and learning through play. Through our connection with the land, St. David School intends on deepening our connections with Indigenous perspectives, strengthening our health and well-being, and increasing our knowledge on climate change, stewardship and the environment.

Tell us about your team and your school community.
St. David Catholic Elementary School is a school located in the inner city of Sudbury Ontario. Our school community is gifted with a high population of First Nation students as well as students originally from African nations. The school has a traditional outdoor learning space with hiking trails and a rambling brook that surrounds the building. The school’s structure and location reminds everyone who enters that we are interconnected to nature and our environment. Our creative staff and knowledge keepers continue to help create a culturally relevant and engaging, play based school atmosphere that welcomes and honours diversity. Today, we recognize that learning on the land is play-based learning. Our school team believes that diversity brings a wealth of knowledge, perspectives and theories of innovation that when tied together opens the door for new, exciting learning opportunities.

Tell us about the importance of learning through play for your team and for your students.
Relational learning involves patience and time. Learning through play is a wonderful example of how a focus on relational teachings can positively shape a school’s culture. Schools that recognize the beauty and importance of inclusivity and diversity help to support Indigenous youth develop a strong sense of belonging and ensure that they know they have a unique and sacred place in the world. When we are able to focus on relational teachings, we are in turn able to develop a deeper sense of community among students, staff members and our partners. When we increase student engagement through play, we are able to better outcomes for our students.

Tell us about your interest in joining the Canadian Playful Schools Network.
Our school team truly values and understands the importance of play-based learning. We appreciate the opportunity to be part of the CPSN family and to be an integral member of the educational movement that recognizes the contribution of play-based learning to strong student engagement, improved mental health and well-being and overall academic success. We look forward to learning from and with other CPSN.