School Name: William Watson Elementary
School District: SD#36 Surrey
Inquiry Team Members: Admin. Anne Smith: firstname.lastname@example.org
Teacher Lead-Christine Syms: email@example.com
Deanna Mayotte: mayotte_d@ surreyschools.ca
Inquiry Team Contact Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Type of Inquiry: NOIIE
Focus Addressed: Our school population was growing and so we have had a few staff changes; some staff were commenting on feeling disconnected. We needed to work on a common goal, and from this, a question emerged: How can developing a school garden as a school-wide focus, help to build connections to this place and to each other?
Inquiry Story: We began to move ahead with the process of getting a school garden. We had the momentum, but we were still waiting for the approved garden space to be completed. We wanted to begin something, and a small space where a large tree had been removed was just right for a circular garden. We wanted to develop a welcoming space where the students and staff helped to create the story. So, using the Imaginative Ecological Education cognitive tools combined with the First Peoples Principles of Learning we were ready to continue on our journey. On the site of our new garden, each class: 1) was guided through an acknowledgement of the people who came before us and the land where we are, 2) was introduced to bulbs from Indigenous and edible to bulbs for beautification, and 3) had each group plant three bulbs into a small container to then be added into the ground after Spring Break. Each group was then sent off to think about our school garden — intermediate: sustainable gardening and how this will work for a school garden, and primary: three plants to grow and why. We saw the story unfolding through this place-based holistic learning experience, which was helping to form an emotional attachment while focussing on connectedness and developing a sense of place. Now, more than ever, our common goal needs to focus on maintaining our connection to each other through our connection to this place.