Outdoor school in Chase focus of Kamloops-Thompson school district study

Superintendent Alison Sidow will bring recommendations to the board by Dec. 16, giving the district time to determine how many families are committed to an outdoor education program

An outdoor school may soon become a reality in Chase.

The Kamloops-Thompson school board has asked staff to examine the feasibility of such a program within Haldane elementary.

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At a school board meeting in May, representatives of a parent working group presented the proposal for an outdoor, kindergarten to Grade 6 school of choice in Chase that would utilize the surrounding environment.

The proposal called for 80 per cent of daily learning to be done outdoors in all types of weather.

Required facilities would be a completely natural space — such as a Douglas fir forest — to be used in educational activities, along with some sort of minimal weather shelter, the group suggested.

Bus transportation would also be required and teachers would be need to have training in the outdoor school model.

Enrolment would be open to all students in neighbouring school district North Okanagan (SD83) due to its proximity.

More information was requested from the group at that time regarding facilities, teacher qualifications, educational soundness of the program and evidence of success of similar programs operating in other districts.

Those questions were addressed at the end of June and the district was also provided the school handbook and trustee report detailing the operations of an outdoor school in SD83.

SD73’s feasibility study will now look into costs, staffing requirements, shared property use concerns, facilities requirements, curriculum development and the timeline for implementation of the school within a school model.

Superintendent Alison Sidow will bring recommendations to the board by Dec. 16, giving the district time to determine how many families are committed to an outdoor education program and ensure funding is available in the 2020-2021 budget.

© Kamloops This Week

 


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