North Vancouver School District
the natural place to learn©
Dec 09
Cheakamus Grade 4/5 program update

By Conor McMullan, Director of Educational Programs, Cheakamus Centre

It has been wonderful to see the enthusiastic response from each of our elementary schools that brought their Grade 4 and 5 students to Cheakamus Centre this fall for a full day of learning.

Beginning in late September, when the spawning channels were full of pink salmon, to the first week of December, when eagles filled the trees and riverbanks, it has been encouraging to see such a high level of participation from all of our 25 elementary schools.

Recognizing this group of students has missed out on several long-standing school district programs over the past 18 months, the day-based experience combined elements of the Outdoor School and Longhouse programs, including the Cheakamus farm and gardens, salmon hatchery, forest trails and of course, our traditional Skwxwú7mesh longhouse.

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Not surprisingly, there was no shortage of excitement and energy each time groups of students boarded the bus headed for Cheakamus Centre for the first time in well over a year. In addition to the powerful outdoor and Indigenous learning opportunities these programs provide, it is worth noting experiences of this nature positively impact students' mental health.

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Place-based learning--in, with and about nature--has been one of the many important components of the school experience that has been impacted due to the pandemic. We are truly grateful to begin the process of building back to more normalized program experiences for students and staff. We also look forward to sharing program updates with you in the New Year.

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