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HOW TO GET STARTED
Discuss your ideas for transforming the school grounds with the principal and School Council and ensure that you have their support right from the beginning.
Commitment and support
Ask the principal to encourage staff commitment and support for the project and organize a presentation for teachers, parents and caretaking and office staff.
Share ideas on transforming the grounds through meetings, presentations, displays and school newsletters. You might want to reserve a space in every newsletter for updates on what you and other schools in Canada and around the world are doing to improve students' outdoor school environments.
Proper planning takes time
"People don't plan to fail,
The better the planning, the better the end result. Take plenty of time to plan and be open to new ideas. There is a lot to learn about the site and the way it is used before you start to draw up a plan. Planning usually takes from one to two years. Parents and students eager to realize their ideas can become impatient with a lengthy process and want to know when the project is going to start. Be prepared to explain that the planning is a vital part of the project and not a separate exercise.
To gather data for redesigning your school grounds, you will need to conduct school and community surveys, consult with planning staff, evaluate your site, and do some research on the benefits of school grounds transformation. The results of the people and site surveys and the research are the tools you need for planning.
Forming a school grounds planning team
It is important to form a school grounds planning team that represents everyone in the school community. If the school grounds project is not a school council initiative, invite a member of the council to attend your meetings or go along to theirs. Where there is no communication between school committees, problems can occur such as the installation of basket ball poles by the playground development group right next to the wildlife habitat planted by the school grounds greening team! It is also a good idea to ask people from the local community to participate.
Your planning team can include: