ELEMENTARY SCHOOL AGED HOME LEARNERS

VANCOUVER NATURE LEARNERS

AGES 5-9

​"The most effective kind of education is that a child should play amongst lovely things." (Plato)

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 Learner's 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.

Please note that this is an enrichment program for families who register with the Island Discovery Program.

We welcome parent participation. Workshops on communication and community building will be also offered.

Local Programs and Organizations We Love 

  • The Youth Makerspace at the Pod & Purple Thistle (email us for information on program offerings)

  • The Theatre Program at the Revue Stage Granville Island (email us for information on program offerings)

  • Transforming Education Society (TES)

  • Champlain Heights Community Association

  • The Learnery

We are honoured to live, work, and play on the unceded Coast Salish territories of the Skwxwú7mesh (Squamish), Səl̓ílwətaʔ  (Tsleil-Waututh), and xxʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam) peoples.

PROGRAM DETAILS

VANCOUVER NATURE LEARNERS

  • We are taking applications for the 2020-21 school season. Contact Tricia: tricia@freshairlearning.org to book a call and program visit.

  • South-East Vancouver, Champlain Heights & Everett Crowley Park

  • Outdoors in the morning - indoor space available in the afternoon as needed

  • A self-directed and play-based nature program for ages 5-9

  • Tuesdays and Thursdays, 10-2

  • $150 per month, with scholarship applications available on request. 

A TYPICAL DAY

AT VANCOUVER NATURE LEARNERS

WHAT DOES A TYPICAL DAY INVOLVE AT VANCOUVER NATURE LEARNERS?

  • Free play and exploration of the natural environment 

  • Planting and restoration of Everett Crowley Park through the stewardship program, 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

OUR VALUES

At Vancouver Nature Learners, we foster a love of learning through play. We honour and value diversity and engage with respect toward each other and our natural environment. We acknowledge and respect Indigenous ways of knowing, being, and doing. 

WE VALUE:

  • 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.

 "Good schools, like good societies and good families, celebrate and cherish diversity." 

Deborah Meier

OUR INSPIRATION

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.

Program founded by The Pavluk Family ~ with support from Andrea Pohlers, Heather Korsa and the Freedman Family

“Creativity is a type of learning process where the teacher and pupil are located in the same individual.” Arthur Koestler​​

STAFF AND PARENTS

CHILD TO ADULT RATIOS

TEACHERS

PARENT PARTICIPATION & LEARNING

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 Distributed 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.

NORTH VANCOUVER NATURE SCHOOL

AGES 5-13

Is your family looking for a hands-on, community-based experience learning in nature? 

 

Our North Vancouver 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 Distributed 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.

"Play stimulates the parts of the brain involved in both careful, logical reasoning and carefree, unbound exploration" Greg McKeown

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. Contact us to register. Tuesdays and Thursdays, 9:30-2:30 ages 5-13, Thursdays, 9:30-2:30 ages 5-7.

PROGRAM DETAILS

NORTH VANCOUVER NATURE LEARNERS

Join us in the forest and on the farm! We have two classes in our North Vancouver locations. Both run from 9:30-2:30. One is on Thursdays for children ages 5-8, while the other is on Tuesday and Thursday for children ages 5-13. Our larger classes are divided into smaller groups based on the play and learning styles of the children and on connections to specific friends and teachers.Our classes run out of the Lower Seymour Conservation Reserve on Tuesdays and out of the Seymour River Heritage Park, Maplewood Farm, Loutet Farm, and field trip locations on Thursdays. The children enjoy connecting with both forests and farms environments over the course of the year.

A TYPICAL DAY

AT NORTH VANCOUVER NATURE SCHOOL

WHAT DOES A TYPICAL DAY INVOLVE AT 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.

OUR INSPIRATION

"He loves the freedom it gives him to make his own choices and play freely without constant instruction from adults." A program parent

"My child enjoys the freedom to engage his environment and friends without imposed learning expectations - he is learning what he experiences." A program parent

At Fresh Air Learning, we are inspired by numerous educational models, including: 

  • Forest school 

  • Coyote mentoring 

  • Folk school 

  • Tinkering school

  • Permaculture design 

STAFF AND PARENTS

PARENT PARTICIPATION + TEACHERS

Half of our teachers work with Island Discovery Learning Community, while the other half work with Fresh Air Learning. This allows us to have a staff to student ratio of 1:10 or less. Education assistants, volunteers, and parents may also be a part of our groups, providing additional support to and connections with the children. 

To learn more about our program staff, click here.

LEARNING LOGISTICS

Our programs run in conjunction with Island Discovery Learning Community, and children who are enrolled with us must also be enrolled in the Powell River School District through Island Discovery. These programs are distributed learning programs, which means that students in the programs are part of BC's public school system and work on provincial learning outcomes both in our outdoor classes and at home. 

ENROLLMENT

To enroll in our North Vancouver 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!

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Tel: 604-802-7539

Email: info@freshairlearning.org

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