Seferian Design Group received a Landscape Ontario Awards of Excellence for their work on the Dufferin-Peel Catholic District School Board Outdoor Kindergarten Childcare Renovations. The annual competition features more than 40 categories of entries judged by a panel of respected horticulture industry experts. Only those entries deemed truly excellent are honoured with awards. The Dufferin-Peel Catholic District School Board (DPCDSB) is one of the largest and most diverse districts in Ontario, operating 149 Elementary and Secondary Catholic schools throughout Mississauga, Brampton, Caledon and Orangeville.
In 2015, 22 schools were selected to have their Kindergarten Outdoor Areas renovated. The DPCDSB had a requirement: the transformation of plain, sterile asphalt yards into low-maintenance, yet dynamic outdoor learning environments, instead of just playgrounds. Former asphalt jungles were replaced with brightly coloured asphalt and soft turf, big outdoor blackboards, planters for gardening, dramatic play areas, and wooden stages. Painted mathematical shapes and the alphabet were provided to be used by the teachers as learning tools extended to the outside, where kindergarten kids are exposed to at least two 40-minute blocks each day.
After consultation with the kids, each school chose a unique carving created by a local artist. The carvings, always an animal indigenous to Ontario, provide an identity to each play area. In order to keep the project on budget, the design combined elements of naturalized yards with the existing asphalt pads, creating a hybrid version that provides fun opportunities of learning and discovery, and also promotes a reconnection with nature.