Last year, Karen Dobrucki, Green Project Team Leader with the Toronto District School Board, introduced me to this important group working in the United States to bring trees to schoolyards and nature to kids. I attended several of their excellent sessions last year and their first one of this year and learned that the first Miyawaki style mini forest planted at a school in North America (I think), was done last year at a school in California. From their website, here is what Green Schoolyards America says about their mission;
"Green Schoolyards America seeks to transform asphalt-covered school grounds into park-like green spaces that improve children’s well-being, learning, and play while contributing to their communities' ecological health and climate resilience.
We are working to change the paradigm for school ground design, use, and management so all students will have access to the natural world in the places they already visit on a daily basis." (www.greenschoolyards.org)
They like us at Little Forests Kingston, know that the strength of this movement and the well being of any schoolyard planting depends on actively using the plants as teachers and incorporating the forests and gardens at school grounds as sites of profound learning and connection. To this end, they have compiled a wonderful group of resources from around the world by grade and subject. Here is a link to their website (Green Schoolyards America) and to these resources (Educator Resources). Some are from Canadian sources. Check out their whole site for lots of excellent information and guidance. The founder, Sharon Danks is the author of Asphalt to Ecosystems. She is also one of the co-founders of the International School Yards Alliance.