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 with the Powell River School District’s Island Discovery program 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 an enrichment program for families who enroll with the Powell River School District through the Island Discovery Program. Students do not need to live in Powell River. The other three days a week, families follow their own learning plan.
To enroll in our elementary programs through Island Discovery Learning Community, 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 Island Discovery Learning Community. We look forward to seeing your family in the forest!
Questions? Contact Tricia@freshairlearning.org
VANCOUVER NATURE LEARNERS
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
NORTH VANCOUVER NATURE SCHOOL
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
A SAMPLING OF ACTIVITIES WITH OUR ELEMENTARY PROGRAMS:
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
DEMOCRATIC INQUIRY-BASED LEARNING
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
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.
CHILD TO ADULT RATIOS
The full capacity for the program is 16 students. The adults include the BCTF certified teacher, an additional mentor teacher, and parents and/or community volunteers. 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 Fresh Air Learning elementary program is funded and administered by the Powell River School District through the Island Discovery 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. Meet our teachers here!
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.