Jean Vanier Catholic Secondary

 / Grounds


Doug Snyder, Anil Gokarn / Snyder Architects

Jean Vanier Catholic Secondary

We expand on the outdoor classroom idea, treating it as a ‘campfire space’ where students can learn and build empathy through story telling.

Doug Snyder, Principal

Jean Vanier’s Grounds are designed to allow cross pollination between classes. The Grounds are equipped with a sculpture garden, a horticultural garden, an outdoor classroom, and even a framework for students to learn how to build structures.

Classes work alongside each other so the students will see what others are doing and be inspired. The idea is to recreate a “da Vinci Studio” – a mish mash of project-based learning activities within view of each other to stimulate collaboration and innovation. We’ve used a Renaissance idea and updated it to the 21st century to foster the skills needed for today’s creative economy.

A garage door connects the shop to the courtyard where students can create huge structures on a fixed metal gazebo – it’s designed to provide a framework for the students to build on. There is a horticultural garden where students and teachers can grow their own plants, vegetables or flowers. There are many windows onto the courtyard so people can see the different technical and gardening work going on.

We like the idea of having different classes and varied activities in the same area. It’s a very creative space and we are looking forward to seeing how teachers use it for experiential learning.

The school incorporates the Outdoors, allowing the students to benefit from fresh air and sunshine. We expand on the outdoor classroom idea, treating it as a ‘campfire space’ where students can learn and build empathy through story telling.