About The Grove
The Grove Community School is Canada’s first public elementary school focused on environmental education, community activism and social justice. The school, which opened in 2009, is located on the third floor of Alexander Muir / Gladstone Avenue Junior and Senior Public School. Both schools share the use of an extensive library and computer lab, gymnasium, auditorium, school yard, and outdoor classrooms. The Grove Community School is a small school of 120 students, from JK to Grade Six.
Note that this website is brought to you by the proud parents of The Grove, not by the Toronto District School Board.
Our Core ValuesSocial Justice - Environmentalism - Community Activism
School life and curriculum at The Grove Community School are focused on a set of Core Values:
Equity, Diversity, and Social JusticeThe Grove seeks to raise learners’ awareness of social justice and injustice. The aim is to enable learners to recognize connections between their individual experiences and the social contexts in which they occur. At The Grove, the whole school is a classroom and a space where new knowledge, grounded in the experiences of students and teachers (as well as families and other community members), is produced through meaningful dialogue. The intended outcome is to support our community to be able to recognize and critically engage all forms of social injustice, and to learn and work together towards democratic transformation and positive social change.
Ecological Sustainability and Environmental JusticeThe Grove is founded on the belief that the quality of children’s learning and their ability to realize their life potential is intimately related to the health and wellness of their interconnected ecological and social environments. As a result, we see sustainability and social justice education as inextricably linked.
Community Engagement and ActivismThe Grove’s community-centred education prepares students and the broader school community for deep understanding by moving them beyond memorizing facts to evaluating the social and environmental significance of what they are learning. Student learning will focus on real, authentic problems and solutions that encourage collaboration and cooperation because students will experience the reality that real-life problems often are too complex for one person to solve alone. Action projects at The Grove are designed to meet the multi-faceted needs of students and families and promote positive relationships with and in the local community.
Unique Curriculum ApproachHolistic - Engaging - Challenging - Gender Splendour - Seeds of Change - Experiential - Collaborative - Anti-Bias
At The Grove, we satisfy Ontario Ministry of Education requirements with respect to curriculum expectations, but we also go beyond them in a unique approach guided by our core values of social justice, ecological sustainability and environmental justice, community engagement/ activism.
A committment to encouraging critical thinking skills & inquiry based learning.
Students are given the opportunity to closely examine gender and to challenge gender stereotypes through games and activities. Links between gender stereotypes and homophobia are also discussed. Resources and activities are specific to the age and grades of learners.
Seeds of Change
A rotary class exploring ecological sustainability & environmental justice through inquiry and experiential learning.
At The Grove, the Arts — including visual and dramatic arts, music and dance (creative movement) — help to expand and foster imagination and creativity. The Arts are taught as a stand-alone subject, and teachers also take opportunities to incorporate arts into their curriculum.
We aspire to fulfill the goals of self-awareness, confidence, family pride, positive social identities, express comfort and joy with human diversity, accurate language for human differences, and deep, caring human connections. Each child will demonstrate empowerment and the skills to act, with others or alone, against prejudice and/or discriminatory actions.
The Grove uses assessment and evaluation primarily to promote student learning. The School avoids the use of high-stakes, graded testing, rigid standardization, and any evaluation instruments designed to promote competitiveness and the ranking of students.
The Grove achieved GOLD Eco School Status recently and we are working towards Platinum Status!
Here is a list of Field Trips and Special Activities that Grove Students have participated in:
- Planting Trees in McCormick Park
- Planting a pollinator garden
- Wildflower Stomp
- Building our School Garden
- Pipeline Protest
- Yellow Fish Road Program
- Watershed on Wheels
- Scientists in the School
- Community Walks
- Investigate Butterflies and Worms
- Planting a Peace Tree
- Visiting West End Food Co-op
- Warren Park Field Trip
- High Park Field Trip
- Brickworks Evergreen
Community and CollaborationMorning Circle - Grove Gatherings
Each day The Grove gathers outside the school in the playground for morning circle. This is a symbol of our community spirit and brings us all together. Family, friends and caregivers are encouraged to stay if they can. Information is shared, announcements are made and the anthem is either heard or sung after an acknowledgement of the Indigenous lands we stand on.
Students assemble in multi-age groupings to explore themes that are being presented in the curriculum. Family members are welcomed, and gatherings typically alternate between morning and afternoon.
Teaching ExcellenceEnthusiastic Lifelong Learners who Embrace our Core Values
We are fortunate to have Teachers who foster curiosity, wonder, imagination, and creativity in our students. Our dedicated teaching staff are inspired by a deep desire to make change in the world, have a strong passion for justice, and understand how to foster these same qualities in young learners in developmentally appropriate ways.
Our teachers are award winning, and are leaders in their field. And they are happy to share their experience and knowledge by participating in workshops and curriculum development, and by hosting teaching candidates from several universities.
ETT Excellence in Teaching Equity Award 2013 (Shannon Greene)
ETFO Anti-Bias Award 2014 (Velvet Lacasse)
National Geographic/Lindblad Expeditions Grosvenor Teacher Fellow 2015 (Ellie Clin) – Check out Ellie’s Antarctic Adventure!
TDSB Equity Department (Gender Box Resource)
LGBTQ Parenting Network’s International Family Visibility Day 2012
Collaborated with COPA to create a documentary about Student Engagement 2014
TDSB Futures Conference in 2012 and 2013
ETFO Conference “And Still We Rise” 2013 and 2014
ETT Equity Conference 2013, 2015
OISE/TDSB Eco Schools Pollinating Partnerships Symposium 2015
Project WILD Facilitator training 2015
ETFO “LGBT Issues in the Primary Classroom” 2013
ETFO’s “LGBT Awareness in the Primary Classroom”: 2013-2015
ETFO’s “Everyone is Able” 2015
Professional Development & Publication
Natural Curiosity, a Resource for Teachers about Environmental Inquiry, 2009, 2016
Peace Circles, a restorative justice approach to conflict resolution, 2009 & 2010
ETT Newspaper Article “Social Justice in the Classroom” 2010
Ministry of Education: Pedagogical Leadership and Inquiry-based Learning across the K-3 Continuum: 2015
ETFO’s “Re-thinking White Privilege” resource: 2015
Handbook & Application FormsDownload them here!
The Grove Community School Handbook
Our Handbook describes the curriculum, core values, and key commitments of our community school. This document is a work in progress, and we understand that it will evolve as we build the school together.