A murmuring stream winding its way through magnificent Douglas firs is the natural setting of Stave Falls Elementary School's new outdoor classroom. Our forest and nature program is rooted in nine guiding principles:
Curriculum Connectedness Experiential Education Cultivating Curiosity Hands-On Happenings
Purposeful Play Competencies Competency Environmental Expertise Stewardship Sensations
Indigenous Perspectives and Worldviews
Through an inquiry-based approach, students will be engaged in their learning through daily, meaningful interactions with nature. Whether it be creating a bug hotel, building survival shelters, making cedar bracelets with an elder, or scientifically analyzing the health of a tree, students will have the opportunity to deepen their understanding of the real world in their life long journey to become educated citizens.
"Explore Discover Learn"
The BC Science curriculum takes a place-based approach to science learning. Students will develop place-based knowledge about the area in which they live, learning about and building on First Peoples knowledge and other traditional ecological knowledge of the area. This provides the basis for an intuitive relationship with and respect for the natural world, connections with ecosystems and community, and a sense of relatedness that encourages lifelong harmony with nature. Lesson plans are designed to meet requirements in subject areas.
Students are immersed in an outdoor experience and then encouraged to reflect about the experience to develop new skills, new attitudes, or new ways of thinking.
Using an inquiry-based approach to learning, students will be engaged in deep thinking, meaningful questioning, and discovery.
Students are given the opportunity to create, design and build to enhance their learning using appropriate tools.
Students have the opportunity to imagine, socially connect and construct in the context of "play".
Students develop curriculum competencies and personal competencies (communication, thinking, personal and social) through outdoor learning activities and tasks.
Students learn and practice outdoor safety practices in a controlled environment in order to become safe, responsible outdoor citizens. They are taught specific outdoor skills to gain proficiency in navigating the outdoors.
Students practice responsible stewardship of the land they are a part of and learn ways to contribute to sustainable practices in everyday living.
Indigenous Worldviews and Perspectives
Students build capacity for intercultural understanding, empathy, and mutual respect; lessons incorporate First People's Principles of Learning.
- Exploring habitat through scavenger hunts, digging in the dirt, collecting, sorting and identifying
- Examining bark under a magnifying class, weaving traditional cedar baskets
- Participating in a nature walk learning history and story of the place
- Acquiring wilderness survival skills (bear aware, making lean tops)
- Planting and cultivating berries to be used in traditional teas, making nettle soup
- Creating a haiku poem, story or Inukshuk reflecting a special place
- Designing, planting, tending and harvesting gardens
- Nature art: leaf crowns, story stones, paintings, designing bug hotels
- Math centres: Measuring plants, counting rings, building tiered structures, boxes and planters
- Analyzing trees to determine health, age and species
- Sit spots – listening to the sounds around you – creating a soundscape
- Identifying natural and man-made things in nature (and cleaning up the forest at the same time)
- Indigenous knowledge and connection with land through story, plants, history and activities
- Understanding scientific principles and processes in the context of curriculum themes including habitat, water, insects, weather, planets, biodiversity and so much more
Clothing & Preparation
- Waterproof jackets
- Rain pants
- Rubber boots/Snow boots
- Hats and gloves
- Change of clothes at school
- Extra socks
- Water bottle – labelled
- Layers – wearing several layers with a waterproof layer on the outside
- Kleenex or napkin for runny noses, etc.
- Closed toed shoes in dry weather
- Emergency medication and communication on procedure with school (i.e. EpiPen, allergy requirements, etc.)
- Be prepared for messy children on pick up – including seating in car
- Healthy, portable snacks – children get very hungry in the outdoors