What is DIGS?
James Thomson is excited to announce a new schoolyard improvement project: “DIGS” – for Discover-Imagine-Grow Schoolyard.
The DIGS project will look at James Thomson’s schoolyard as an outdoor space “to turn the school inside out.” An enhanced schoolyard has great potential to be a special, loved, and creative place that promotes many different ways to play, learn, and be active.
DIGS aims to be a place that encourages kids to Discover the outdoors in their own way, use their Imaginations, and Grow in healthy ways. And perhaps grow vegetables too!
Why do DIGS?
DIGS is inspired by schoolyard greening or "naturalization" - a movement that is “changing the landscape” of many schools across Canada and other parts of the world. The motivation for change at these schools has a common theme: vibrant and “naturalized” schoolyards for play, learning, and healthy activity have many benefits for students, teachers, and their schools. A growing body of research suggests these types of schoolyards promote:
- cooperative play
- safety and less bullying
- stress reduction
- enthusiasm for learning
- deeper knowledge of the natural world
- respect for the environment
- improved academic performance
- positive behaviour in the classroom
- good attendance
- teaching enthusiasm
- school morale
- and many other benefits)
What will DIGS look like?
We’ll find out! DIGS is a school-wide project where the whole school community participates in all steps of its development and maintenance. DIGS’ ideas and design will be determined by JT’s “wish list” – from students, teachers, administrators, support staff, parents and families, and surrounding communities. DIGS will also be guided by expert assistance during the design and building process.
The existing JT schoolyard has “great bones.” DIGS intends to add to and enhance the schoolyard’s many great features by:
- replacing playground equipment
- planting learning gardens (for vegetables or other themes), shrubs and trees
- building a covered, four-season structure for a gathering space or outdoor classroom
- painting the pavement in creative ways with art or games
DIGS is in its “seed” phase! Stay tuned as the project roots, sprouts, and grows!
Please see the links for more information.