Willow Park Ecology Centre serves the Greater Toronto Area, including Halton and Peel schools. Our curriculum-linked programming follows the teaching model of the Forest School Canada to foster rich learning experiences, ecological literacy, and healthy living by connecting children to nature.
Education Program Structure
Dates and sessions
In-park session / Field trip
September – December
April – June
One 90-minute session OR two 90-minute sessions at Willow Park Ecology Centre
In School session
January – March
90 minutes at YOUR school (schoolyard) – We come to you!
90 minutes – $8 per student
180 minutes – $12 per student
A minimum payment for either program length equal to 20 students is required. Teachers, school chaperones, parent volunteers attend for free.
In-park: Maximum 50 students
In-class: Maximum one class
We are flexible, so let us know your needs.
Education Program Overview Per Grade Level
Kindergarten – Grade 1 – Grade 2 – Grade 3 – Grade 4 – Grade 5 – Grade 6
Nearby Nature – Kindergarten and Grade 1
In-park – Our Own Nature, Willow Park Ecology
Students explore the ecology of Willow Park. Activities will vary for fall, winter and spring visits to reflect seasonal changes in the environment. Students may catch and compare pond insects in fall, follow animal tracks in winter, and plant seeds in our garden in spring.
In-school – Our Own Nature, Neighbourhood Ecology
Explore the environment around your schoolyard or neighbourhood park. Students participate in a variety of nature-based learning activities, including setting up experiments. Activities will vary for fall, winter, and spring – to reflect seasonal changes.
Waterworks – Grade 2
In-park Option A – Pond Life and People
Investigate how animals adapt to life in an aquatic environment. Students visit the shallow pond and creek environments around Willow Park. Students determine how their own actions (and those of their families and communities) affect local water quality.
In-park Option B – Pond Life Close Up
A more detailed study of Willow Park’s pond and Silver Creek. Students will test the physical and chemical characteristics of the water, and examine some of the inhabitants.
In-school – Water, Pond Life, and Us
Students investigate how animals adapt to life in an aquatic environment. A presentation introduces students to the pond and creek at Willow Park. Students will measure their water usage at school, and learn some techniques for conserving water, both at school and at home.
Earthworks – Grade 3
In-park Option A – The Living Soil
Introduces students to the components and characteristics of soil. They test soil around Willow Park. Students set up experiments on soil additives for study in class. In spring, students help plant our gardens. In fall, students help harvest our crops.
In-park Option B – Dig In! An Introduction to Food Growing
Involves students in a more in-depth gardening session. Students will learn about food production (First Nations, pioneers, and local) through hands-on activities. Students will also visit our composting area.
In-school – Living Soil
Introduces students to the components and characteristics of soil, including samples from Willow Park. Students set up experiments on soil additives for study. A PowerPoint presentation illustrates plant use by First Nations and pioneers.
Willow Park’s Habitats – Grade 4
In-park Option A – Pond and Stream Habitats
Investigate the pond and stream habitats at Willow Park. They will identify plants and animals, and determine why they prefer certain habitats. Food chains will be constructed from data gathered during the study.
In-park Option B – Field and Forest Habitat
Investigate the field and forest habitats at Willow Park. Students will identify plants and animals, and determine why they prefer certain habitats. Food chains will be constructed, and local rocks and minerals may also be compared, when time permits.
In-school – Local Habitats
Introduces students to the pond, stream, field, and forest habitats of Willow Park. They will learn how to identify plants and animals, and why they survive better in certain habitats. Food chains will be constructed in class based on information gathered in the local environment.
Energyworks – Grade 5
In-park Option A – Renewable Energy – How and Why
Experiment with alternative ways of transforming and using renewable energy forms. Weather conditions allowing, we may include solar or wind power experiments. Students also explore the carbon cycle, and ways to conserve energy and resources.
In-park Option B – Energy Back Then
Explore the ways early civilizations used various energy sources. Students experiment with sundials and water clocks. Students role-play a pioneer community debating the need for a water powered mill and its potential environmental impacts.
In-school – Energy Resources
Both Option A and Option B above may be presented in-class year round.
Biodiversity – Grade 6
In-park Option A – Aquatic Biodiversity
Compare the diversity of aquatic species which make Willow Park their home. Students will use and develop simple identification keys for organisms in the animal kingdom. They will learn how to follow established safety procedures for outdoor fieldwork.
In-park Option B – Terrestrial Biodiversity
Investigate the diversity of our Forest Study plots to see what variety of species we can find and how things are changing over time. Students will use and develop simple identification keys for the plant kingdom. While studying the forest plots they will learn about problems that may occur when biodiversity is diminished.
In-school – Biodiversity
Learn about the diversity of wildlife in Willow Park by viewing an in-class PowerPoint presentation. Students will use and develop simple identification keys to develop skills to compare the characteristics of organisms. They will analyze a local issue related to biodiversity and develop an action plan.