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A hands-on, community-based experience while learning in nature.

Our Online Learning programs provide elementary school-aged children ages 5 to 12 with a two day per week nature-based learning opportunity in forest and farm settings. We've partnered an Online Learning Community to offer a program for school-aged children who enroll as Online Learners.


Learning takes place outdoors in mixed-aged groups of children. The children explore nature through hands-on activities, hikes, field trips, and play in forest and farm settings. Families combine our program with their own home and community-based learning activities. Our program focuses on exploring local places and covers many topic areas such as science, engineering, social studies, physical education, art, music, drama, and storytelling.

Please note that this is a two day enrichment program for an Online Learning Community and families will need to be enrolled with the official school district with whom we partner. The other three days a week, families follow their own learning plan.


To enroll in our elementary programs, the first step is a phone call with our program director. Contact us to set up an appointment. The next step is a program visit if programs are in session, and finally, the last step is enrollment through the partnering school district. We look forward to seeing your family in the forest!


Questions? Contact


Ages 5-12

At Vancouver Nature Learners, learning takes place outdoors at Everett Crowley Park and surrounding green spaces in the Vancouver area. We participate in the stewardship program supported by the Parks Board, while indoor maker space will be accessible to facilitate indoor activities thanks to the support of the Champlain Heights Community Association.


The Vancouver Nature Learners' roots are firmly planted in our love for Windsor House School, which thrived for close to fifty years as part of an international community of democratic learners. As such, we follow the principle of engaging children in learning through democratic and non-coercive methods.​

Tuesdays 10:00 - 2:30pm

Thursdays: 10:30 - 3:00pm



Ages 5-12


A typical day in our North Vancouver program involves both the teacher and the children as people who can inspire learning, ask questions, and lead activities. We gather for circle time in the morning and the end of the day, and we typically have at least one large, teacher-initiated activity each day. We also work on ongoing projects together and individually. Our days also involve child-led exploration, play, and being curious about the world around us. Each year has a slightly different learning focus, and each year also emerges and adapts to the children's interests. During class time, we will often do activities that connect to learning outcomes in art, science, social studies, PE, and oral literacy. We also have many seasonal traditions and community celebrations. Unless we choose to go inside for a special event, our classes are entirely outdoors.

Tuesdays 9:30 - 2:30pm

Thursdays 9:30 - 2:30pm


  • Free play and exploration of the natural environment 

  • Planting and restoration work, including taking care of mason bees

  • Creating with natural and up-cycled materials

  • Harvesting and cooking of plants

  • Hands-on work with traditional skills and crafts

  • Co-creation of learning activities

  • Community building and connection to the wider community

  • Learning about Indigenous voices, pedagogy, and practice

  • Field trips to local areas of interest



The democratic process strengthens communication and collaboration. This allows students to take charge of their learning, which provides a sense of independence, responsibility, and accountability. We value strong attachments between caregivers and children, and welcome family and parent engagement, collaboration, and respectful communication. A true democracy is one in which every person can contribute, and the diversity of those contributions serves to strengthen the whole.


Inquiry-based learning occurs in collaboration with teachers, who respond to the students’ natural curiosities, interests, and discoveries with further questioning, resources, and activities. This provides a safe space for young people to engage in creative, discovery-based thinking.


  • Self-directed learning in a non-coercive environment

  • Multi-age groupings

  • Nature-based play

  • Parent participation

  • Gratitude for and connection with each other and our environment

  • Communication that respects everyone’s needs

  • Freedom with responsibility

  • Diversity and inclusion

  • Respect for local First Nations values and history.


We have a maximum 1:8 ratio of staff to students. With the addition of our parent and community volunteers, we often have a much lower adult to child ratio. The adults include the BCTF certified teacher, an additional mentor teacher, and parents and/or community volunteers. 



The Fresh Air Learning elementary program is funded and administered by a local BC School District Online Learning program and facilitated by a B.C. certified teacher. This teacher also provides support to families for their home- and community-based learning. We have chosen to use the children’s additional learning funds to hire a second teacher for the program.


We believe families are central to children’s learning. We ask that all families contribute to our program in some way, either by volunteering with the children or by volunteering to assist our program behind the scenes. Parents are welcome to participate as volunteer teachers, assist with special events, and attend parent sharing and education evenings.

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