Ossington Old Orchard has long been a leader in the school ground naturalization movement. Our schoolyard—once a concrete wasteland—was one of the first in Canada to be made into a wilderness garden. Generations of OOOPS children have now reaped the benefits of what they call the “forest”—playing tag between the trees and bushes, enjoying the apple trees planted on the western edge of the yard.

Since 2011, we have also cultivated a large edible garden in the terraced beds facing the school. With the support of parents and teachers, the OOOPS Children’s Garden has become a true outdoor classroom. Teachers use the garden as a site for learning and teaching everything from French and art to math and poetry. We plant seeds and seedlings in the spring during a day-long event we call The Big Dig, grow, tend and harvest organic fruit, vegetables and herbs through the growing season. With a permanent teaching circle made of stones and plots tended by children, parents and teachers, our garden is a welcoming, comfortable place. We also have a rich food resource library with picture books and nonfiction aimed at all different grades, as well as curriculum resources and gardening books to support teachers and volunteers in maintaining the plot. We host workshops on subjects from composting to storytelling in the garden and celebrate our community at an all-school annual harvest festival in the fall.

We are always looking for new people interested in getting involved! No experience necessary. Watch for meeting times on the website.