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The Beauty of Outdoor Learning: New Mural

With school communities throughout the District embracing the benefits of learning outside, Kitchener Elementary started the school year with a new mural for their outdoor learning space.

The massive 110-foot painting is the result of a large-scale community effort spanning many months. The project was put on in partnership with the City of Burnaby Community Arts Program.  In addition to artists from the City program, more than 350 people contributed their painting skills. There was an opportunity for every student from Kindergarten to Grade 7 to participate, as well as school and District staff.

Dino Klarich is the principal of Kitchener Elementary School:

Our school has embraced the principles of outdoor learning, and this new mural will help welcome students into the space.”

The mural stretches across the outdoor learning area at the school. Its colourful design features hawks, animals, and plants in a natural landscape. The art also serves as a tribute to the school’s vision statement: HAWKS are Helpful, Accepting, Hardworking, Kind and Safe. Planning for the design was extensive and had students sharing their thoughts and input in the lead up to painting.

The reinvented outdoor space took the entire 2020-21 school year to complete with preparation of the site by District maintenance staff starting last fall. Refurbishments included outdoor-themed manufactured rock classroom seating and weather resistant planters for a school garden, with a fresh base coat of paint in the spring. It was a true community effort, with the school’s Parent Advisory Council contributing to funding.

Shelley Twist is a Community Arts Coordinator at the City of Burnaby:

To complete a project of this size, with so many contributors during the COVID-19 pandemic, we had to do things a little differently than normal, but the end result is beautiful.”

Taking learning outside is a concept long embraced in the Burnaby School District.

Read the Burnaby Now story: Shift toward outdoor education good for apartment-dwelling kids, says Burnaby principal

Read more about outdoor learning in Burnaby Schools:

The Growth of Outdoor Learning

Embracing Nature’s Playground and Classroom

Additional photos of the project can be seen below.

Posted September 2021