Pearson Road Elementary unveils new outdoor learning space

What Miss V. envisioned

Four years of community work and contributions have culminated in the grand opening of an Outdoor Exploration Centre at Pearson Road Elementary school, and it’s also a tribute to a beloved teacher.

The OEC includes two greenhouses, sixteen garden beds and an outdoor classroom.

The inspiration and emotional driver for students and staff to realize the innovative outdoor learning space was long-time kindergarten teacher Isabel Alves-Vicente, affectionately known as "Miss V." Alves-Vicente suffers from Lou Gehrig’s Disease (ALS).

"The joy heard coming from the space when full of learners is exactly what was envisioned by Miss V., who always strived to take the learning outside," said Nina Ferguson, Pearson Road Elementary principal. "We want to share our heartfelt thank you with the many people who made this happen for our learners."

The centre aims to increase natural vegetation on the school grounds, and at the same time raise environmental awareness, and create opportunities for land-based learning for students.

"We are already thrilled with the connections our students are making to the land, to horticulture, and to environmental sustainability, " said Ferguson. "For the first time this September, the students harvested a bountiful crop and turned it into delicious homemade fries and ketchup."

The Outdoor Exploration Centre was made possible through the support of the Central Okanagan Public Schools and its operations department, PSE Parent Advisory Council support, a grant from the Kiwanis Club, and the TD Friends of the Environment program as well as numerous community sponsors.

Other sponsors and supporters include:

  • Chuck Cullen, of TEAM Construction Management, and brother-in-law to Miss V.
  • The OEC committee comprised the following teachers, principal(s) and PAC members: Sarah Korzinski, Allison MacAfee, Claire Barclay, Lynn White, Anneka Konopada, Elaine Mearns, Debbie Dachwitz, Ethan McCluskey, Karrie Carter, Nina Ferguson, Rob Zoppi and Jaime Raymer.
  • Kiwanis
  • TD Friends of the Environment
  • Whole Kids Foundation
  • Bylands
  • The Greenery
  • Pro Sign
  • Pro Source
  • Quality Chain Link Fencing
  • TEAM Construction
  • Big Yellow Bag
  • Okanagan Xeriscape Association
  • Door Tech
  • TNT Services
  • KRM Kelowna Ready Mix
  • Wild Bloom Nursery
  • Home Hardware
  • Everlast Greenhouses & Solariums Ltd
  • Reimers Farm Services
  • Growers Supply
  • Peter Boyd, The Independent Grocer

Rutland Secondary School students, several of whom were once Pearson Road students, also supported the project by building all sixteen outdoor planter boxes.

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