South Canoe school. (File photo)

Spirits are high at Salmon Arm’s outdoor school

First week of classes off to good start at South Canoe School

Tucked away in a quiet little stand of trees and surrounded by the natural beauty of the Shuswap, just over 100 students in Salmon Arm spent their first week back to school learning in the great outdoors.

The South Canoe school is an outdoor school project that has been talked about extensively in Salmon Arm, with many parents, educators and students alike seeming thrilled at the idea of taking learning out of the typical classroom setting. With the first week of classes for the 2018-19 school year underway, the outdoor school has finally come to fruition.

The first days are turning out to be a bit of a learning experience for the staff at the outdoor school, but principal Isabelle Gervais says the outlook and energy levels for students, staff and parents at the school is sky-high.

“We have had beautiful weather first of all, what a great way to start. I think the kids are excited about being outside, I know our staff are and I think it’s good for all of us,” she says. “The energy level here is great and everyone is just really working hard to make this work, and enjoying the work too.”

Related: School district gets OK from land commission for outdoor school

For both the teachers and students the transition from classroom-based learning has been a bit of a change — albeit, one they seem eager to make.

“Our staff, a lot of them have done outdoor learning with students but never as a whole school where you have to rethink everything, nobody has a classroom,” Gervais says. “For me it’s like every other school year: there are always things we need to tweak, but I think what I have found is being outside has been really good for me. It’s easier to connect with kids in an outdoor setting. You can sit in the grass together and just talk about things or help them build a fort. It’s a little bit different than in a classroom.”

As for the students, Gervais says that even after only a few days she noticed increasing engagement with their surroundings, other students and even with their work.

“We have had some really good little success stories. The older group did a one-day field trip to the South Canoe trails and they did a writing activity when they got back. It was kind of a simple writing activity with a storyline given to them with a setting in nature and the kids thought it was the best writing activity.”

In fact, Gervais says parents and teachers alike are already reporting some positive results — notably that kids are actually enthusiastic about doing their homework.

“A lot of parents have said their kids are excited to get up in the morning, they are looking forward to coming to school, they are sleeping well,” she says. “And we have kids who say ‘hey can I bring this story home and keep writing and bring it back tomorrow?’”

The staff at the outdoor school have also made it a point to involve parents and rally a community around the outdoor school.

We sent out a little call to parents, who were in for a whole week before classes helping us unpack stuff and making it their school as well,” Gervais says. “We know there is a lot of involvement from our parent community with wanting to come in and help and be part of this.”

Related: Parents enthusiastic about outdoor school plan for Chase

Gervais notes they will be hosting community events at the school as well. There will be a harvest celebration community potluck dinner at the South Canoe School Sept. 25 at 5 p.m. that will be open to parents, family members and South Canoe residents. They also hope to host an information session in early October for parents who are curious to learn more about the outdoor school and see if it might be a good fit for their children.


@SalmonArm
newsroom@saobserver.net

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

 

Students registered in the first semester of the South Canoe Outdoor Learning School cut the ribbon with principal Isabelle Gervais signalling the school’s opening June 14 during an open house for future students and their parents. Before the ribbon-cutting ceremony Neskonlith band councillor Louis Thomas spoke of the importance of learning about the land while superintendent Peter Jory and director of instruction Carl Cooper spoke of the excitement in the school district surrounding the outdoor school. (File photo)

Just Posted

Strong thunderstorms expected for Shuswap, Okanagan this weekend

Environment Canada meterologist also warns of heavy wind, rain and a potential for flooding

Increase in Shuswap bear sightings prompts reminder about attractants

Animal-resistant trash bins not sufficient to keep bears out warns Conservation Officer Service

Chef brings farm-to-table approach to new Salmon Arm restaurant

Darren Bezanson opening Bistro 1460 at Hilltop Inn

Sicamous district office reopening with new COVID-19 policies

The office will be open again on June 1.

Salmon Arm RCMP will be patrolling school zones on June 1 when some students return

Police remind drivers fines for speeding in a school zone start at $196 and range up to $483

Only four new COVID-19 cases, 228 active across B.C.

Health officials watching as activities ramp up

Parts of the TCT through Princeton will open to motorized vehicles Monday

Parts of the KVR trail through Princeton will open for motorized vehicles… Continue reading

Feds looking at ways to reunite families amid COVID-19 border restrictions with U.S.

Some families with members of dual-citizenship have become separated due to the pandemic

Condition in kids with possible COVID-19 link being studied in Canada

This month, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued an alert to doctors about MIS-C

North Okanagan farmers’ markets excited to welcome artisans back amid COVID-19

Provincial health officer announced non-food items to return to markets this weekend

‘I knew what he wanted’: Kootenay man spends hours in tree as black bear patrols below

Francis Levasseur is no stranger to the outdoors, but a recent run-in with a bear caused quite a scare

COVID cancelled their wedding plans, so they married on a BC mountaintop

Ceremony was live streamed to friends and family around the world

Mother duck and babies rescued from Highway 97 in Lake Country

The mother and nine ducklings were taken to Duck Lake

Trudeau acknowledges racial unrest in U.S.; ‘We also have work to do in Canada’

‘Anti-black racism, racism, is real; it’s in the United States, but it’s also in Canada,’ Trudeau says

Most Read