The Grove Community School Open House

Wednesday, January 10, 2024 6pm to 7:30pm

Welcome to The Grove Community School

The Grove Community School is Canada’s first public elementary school focused on environmental education, community activism and social justice.

Social Justice

The Grove is committed to an approach to teaching and learning that seeks to raise learners’ awareness of social justice and injustice.


Environmental education at the Grove is inter and multi-disciplinary. It is about values, attitudes, ethics, and actions, rather than a separate subject or an ‘add-on’.

Community Activism

The Grove is a community-centred school in which students, parents/guardians, teachers, and community members work and learn together in a cooperative, consensus-building way to solve real problems.

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 Values

Social 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 Justice

The 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 Justice

The 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 Activism

The 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 Approach

Holistic - 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.
EQAO statement: EQAO results for The Grove do not reflect the actual number of students at grade level. These results are calculated using the total number of students enrolled in a class, regardless of the number of students who actually write the test. The Grove has a high rate of opting out of the EQAO. Therefore, if 6 children in a class of 20 write the test, and all 6 children achieve a grade level result, the EQAO will report 6/20 or 30% at grade level.

Critical Thinking

A committment to encouraging critical thinking skills & inquiry based learning.

Gender Splendour

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. Check out our Gender Splendour page!

Seeds of Change

A rotary class exploring ecological sustainability & environmental justice through inquiry and experiential learning.

Arts Infused

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.

Collaborative Assessment

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.

Eco School

The Grove has achieved Platinum ECO School 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
  • Eco-Club

Community and Collaboration

Morning Circle - Grove Gatherings

Morning Circle

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.

Grove Gatherings

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 Excellence

Enthusiastic 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)

Autism Speaks Grant 2014 (Joey Mandel)

Curriculum Development

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

ETFO’s Re-Thinking White Privilege Curriculum 2016

ETFO’s Women’s Equality Project 2017

Workshop Presenters

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’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

Moment to Moment: A positive approach to managing classroom behaviour – Joey Mandel, 2013

Anxiety: Deal With It Before It Ties You Up in Knots – Joey Mandel, 2014

Stop the Stress in Schools: Mental health strategies teachers can use to build a kinder gentler classroom – Joey Mandel, 2014

Keep Growing: How to encourage students to persevere, overcome setbacks, and develop a growth mindset – Joey Mandel, 2017

The Grove Community School Handbook

The Grove Community School Handbook

This is our core document; it’s become a little outdated over the years, but is grounded in the founding principles of The Grove