Langley school promotes peace and understanding with development of outdoor classroom

Douglas Park Elementary received $5,000 donation from OnLine Collision for courtyard space

A “World Peace library” will be installed in a Douglas Park Elementary School courtyard this spring, after a donation from Langley repair business OnLine Collision helped make the space possible.

Tarissa and Daryl Kruger gave $5,000 on Thursday morning, which will go towards an educational outdoor classroom, designed for children with diverse needs and be in a quiet space and relax.

“We’ve been donating to various schools over the last seven years,” Daryl explained. “We are a family business and being a part of the community is important to us. We’ve given about $140,000 to Langley schools in that time for playgrounds. We hope that the outdoor classrooms are able to kids to learn in different ways with nature.”

READ MORE: Langley students are benefiting from nature through calming outdoor mood walks

Douglas Park Elementary has two courtyards, one which is already being used as a gardening space.

Lorraine Goulet, one of the school teachers behind the project, said the first space, decorated with murals from Indigenous artists, contains many First Nations plants like Kinnikinnick and Elderberries.

“Many of the students have never gardened in their life, so it’s a an area for them to learn how to take care of a garden and harvest,” Goulet said. “We grow what is called a Three Sisters garden, which contains corn, beans, squash, as well as vegetables like radishes and potatoes.”

Goulet applied for an ArtStarts grant of $10,000 to install art panels, benches, a fountain and, now, thanks to the OnLine Collision donation, a shelter held up by peace poles in the second courtyard.

“It’s an extension of the library where students can come and read,” she said. “They can also have classes, storytelling, drama out here.”

A world map will also be hung in the second courtyard, all done to promote cultural awareness and peace.

Renovations to make the formerly underutalized space into an outdoor classroom will be done throughout the spring for an unveiling in June.

Susan Cairns of the Langley School District Foundation added that several other local schools are currenlty developing similar spaces.


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