J.A. Laird Elementary School, and our Parent Advisory Council (PAC), are working collaboratively with the Shuswap Indian Band and the Akisqnuk First Nation to develop an accessible Outdoor Learning Space. This project will be located on school grounds to allow access for all learners regardless of mobility requirements, and will be readily available for both planned and spontaneous learning opportunities.
To date we have received grants and generous donations from the Panorama Foundation ($50,000) , J.A. Laird PAC ($5,800), Canfor ($10,000 in-kind), Kootenay Savings Community Foundation ($3,500), Imagine Invermere ($5,000), Shuswap First Nation ($4000 in-kind) TD Friends of the Environment Foundation ($3,000), Columbia Basin Trust ($6,700), Columbia Valley Community Foundation ($5,000), RDEK Grant-in-Aid ($750), Invermere Healthcare Auxiliary ($10,000), District of Invermere Grant-in-Aid ($1750), Canadian Tire ($5,000 in-kind), Skandia Concrete ($25,000 in-kind), and Hybrid Landscapes. Our fundraising is well under way to begin project installation by spring 2019.
This Outdoor Learning Space will give all of our students the opportunity to experience outdoor and community based learning, keeping the First Nations cultures at the centre of the space. It will incorporate local First Nation content through native medicinal plants, multicultural signage and a culturally relevant Gathering Place where learners can congregate. An educational kiosk, offering further information about the history of the Shuswap and Ktunaxa Nation, will complete the learning space.