Shaughnessy Elementary celebrates new outdoor classroom!

Schools & Students

On a bright May afternoon, a vision became reality as students, educators, parents and guests gathered at Shaughnessy elementary to officially open the school’s outdoor classroom. 

The celebration was honoured with a traditional welcome and song by Cecilia Point of the Musqueam Nation. The school community was also joined by board chairperson, Janet Fraser and trustee Ken Clement as well as district staff. Among the audience members were several members of the VSB’s grounds crew who worked alongside the school leaders to create the outdoor classroom. The afternoon’s festivities played out to perfection thanks to student emcees, Jake (grade 5) and Rachel (grade 7), and included songs by Eva McIntyre’s kindergarten class, plus a ribbon cutting. 

Principal Janet Souther explains that the afternoon itself was the culmination of a year of planning and hard work by many people.

“With combined commitment from our parent advisory council, our parent community and our students, we were able to make a plan to turn our vision into reality,” she says. “Finally, we needed the skill and here the VSB Grounds crew were invaluable. From overall design right down to selecting and installing the individual stones and plants, VSB grounds crew members have been integral to this project." 

Everyone in attendance marvelled at the transformation of the space – once home to only a pair picnic tables, now lush with plants and trees. The classroom even includes three rhododendrons transplanted from Kitsilano Secondary; they needed a new home when that school was seismically upgraded. 

“We decided as a school community to create an outdoor classroom to complement our school garden and to provide a dedicated space for integrated learning into the natural environment,” explains Souther. “A project of this scope and magnitude requires vision, commitment and skill. At Shaughnessy, we were fortunate to have all three.”

Shaughnessy Outdoor Classroom