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Learning gardens bring schools to life

Faculty of Education teams with Durham District School Board on symbolic community project

Kindness Garden at Glen Street Public School in Oshawa.
Kindness Garden at Glen Street Public School in Oshawa.

To many, a garden is simply a patch of ground, full of soil, used for growing plants. But as a natural place to cultivate and generate new life, gardens metaphorically express something far beyond their physical purpose.

From a pure learning standpoint, gardens provide a bounty of educational opportunities. They encourage young people to find out more about agriculture and food production, and by extension, to appreciate such concepts as sustainability, environmental awareness, stewardship, responsibility, collaboration and leadership. 

In this spirit, the Faculty of Education at the University of Ontario Institute of Technology champions the creation of ‘learning gardens’ in the community. The faculty recently teamed with the Durham District School Board to open an outdoor Kindness Garden at Oshawa’s Glen Street Public School.

The unveiling of the garden coincided with the opening of the school’s newly renovated Library Learning Commons. During the ceremony, Glen Street students listened to the All My Nations Drumming Group and met with Canadian children’s literature authors Ted Staunton and Richard Scrimger.

Representatives of the Faculty of Education, Glen Street teachers, parents, community volunteers, local trustees and school board personnel were all on hand for the celebration.


“The Faculty of Education is proud to drive this unique community partnership with the Durham District School Board. Additional support for this project was provided by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada.”
-Maurice DiGiuseppe, PhD, Interim Dean, Faculty of Education, University of Ontario Institute of Technology

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  • Earlier in 2017, Faculty of Education teacher candidates helped launch a series of outreach activities focusing on school and community gardens that incorporate an Indigenous knowledge perspective. The first partnership led to the creation of two gardens at the university’s downtown Oshawa location, behind the UOIT-Baagwating Indigenous Student Centre and the 61 Charles Street Building.