École Nesika Elementary is going wild.
The Wild Schools program is a school-wide, three-year initiative for Kindergarten to Grade 8 schools supporting outdoor and place-based learning.
An interdisciplinary, curriculum-linked program, Wild Schools supports school communities to increase ecological literacy, outdoor field experiences and to build connections to conservation in the community.
The Wild Schools program is focused on hands-on environmental learning and experiences to engage learners through a process of ‘Wondering, Inquiring, Learning and Doing” — being WILD.
Situated near downtown Williams Lake with access to the forest, walking and biking trails, the river valley and the Dairy Fields, École Nesika Elementary is a natural spot to take part in place-based learning, said principal Holly Zurak.
She said like many School District 27 schools, and other schools across the province, Nesika has already been getting outdoors for learning with increased frequency.
“We look forward to using our new outdoor classroom learning structure, and our natural surroundings for WILD lessons this fall with all students in English and French immersion classes,” Zurak said.
“Our teachers will have access to targeted funding for outdoor field trips to our community partner destinations, such as Scout Island Nature House, the Williams Lake Community Forest and Gavin Lake Forest Education Centre, as well as continued funding for supplies and resources to take students outside for place-based and inquiry learning within walking distance.”
She added a goal this year will be to build availability of supplies and weather clothing so all students can participate comfortably and equally.
“Every division teacher is equipped with a GO (get outside) backpack and teacher resources,” she said.
“Our staff has committed to three years of training and support with HCTF to build our capacity as an instructional team. It’s really exciting.”