Bioregional Forest School

Unfortunately our Forest School is currently not operational.

Unfortunately our Forest School is currently not operational. We do not know when we will be able to re-open the Forest School, but we do look forward to welcoming learners back for full days in the forest as soon as we are able to do so.

The Bioregional Forest School is a blended learning opportunity for K-8 students in Oak and Orca's Hands-On Home-Learning DL Program. Led by qualified wilderness mentors and BC certified teachers, it operates Tuesdays and Fridays throughout the regular school year. Students spend up to two days a week outdoors (rain, snow, or shine) in the beautiful forest near Elk / Beaver Lake.

At Forest School, students have weekly opportunities to connect deeply with nature and learn and practice wilderness skills while meeting BC curriculum standards and becoming stewards of the land through experiential learning, inquiry, and nature games. Students may also participate in special field trips where specific forest school related skills can be practiced in appropriate environments.

Seasonal Themes

While all of these activities occur throughout the Forest School year, we are more focused on specific activities seasonally.

Orientation and Mapping
Shelter building (shelters are dismantled daily)
Stalking and Awareness
Art and crafting
Nature Journaling
Survival Skills

inquiry learning: butterfly lifecycle - coming out of the cocoon - drawn by an Oak and Orca School teacher Winter
Fire Making and Keeping
Music and Dancing
Woodcarving (wood is supplied by instructors)
Invasive Species Removal

inquiry learning: butterfly lifecycle - first steps - drawn by an Oak and Orca School teacher Spring
High energy play
Bird Language

inquiry learning: butterfly lifecycle - first flight - drawn by an Oak and Orca School teacher Summer
Tasting berries
Beach Life
High energy play
Aliveness and Agility

Goals and Intentions

Bioregional Education
Create an understanding of the contrast between active and passive relationships with the natural world, and model how an active relationship can be beneficial.
Encourage an appreciation for all life, and educate students on the interconnectedness of all things.
Build a knowledge and awareness of different environments (Ocean, Forest, Riparian, Meadow), while building a skill-set to interact with those different environments and encourage responsible action.
Embed natural teachings in the seasonal changes that affect the environment and our relationship with it.
Learn about the local First nations' relationships with the land and the history of local places.
Develop a relationship with a specific place.

Community Focused Learning
Students learn together as a community building self respect and confidence in communal situations and respect and strong working relationships with their peers.
Introduce students to members of the larger community that have skills and experience living close to nature.
Build a relationship with the natural world in a way that the students see nonhuman life as part of their community.
Build a relationship with local First Nations and learn about their traditional ways of living in community.

Imaginative Education
Find ways to engage the students' excitement and enthusiasm for different topics in ways that encourage them to take ownership of their own learning.
Encourage students' imaginations in learning and teachers' imaginations in teaching to make knowledge in the curriculum vivid and meaningful.
Use different modes of expression including storytelling, dancing, singing, and roleplay to expose students to multiple creative ways of sharing knowledge and expressing oneself.

Diverse students are active participants in developing their own projects and curriculum.
The program is inclusive of knowledge from many different cultures and times.
Knowledge, opinions, and ideas of students, parents, and teachers are all encouraged and respected.

Typical Activities

Play - Learning through social and imaginative play and exploration
Learn - Exploring place and finding out what each day brings
Know - Natural history, community heritage, aboriginal awareness, and science of place
Share - Hearing, seeing and experiencing each other's interests and passions
Discover - Traditional skills and survival skills, discovering what we can do and what we cannot
Tinker - Creating with natural materials which are returned to the land with minimal impact
Come Together - Building our own community
Give - Helping the wider community through invasive species removal, clean-ups, and planting native species
Visit - Field trips to learn about our local places

Curriculum Ties

Students gain experience in both the content and competencies in these subject areas

- features and adaptations of living things in the local environment
- common objects and local patterns in events that occur on Earth and in the sky
- water sources, the water cycle, and local watersheds
- biodiversity in the local environment
- observable changes in the local environment
- how organisms in ecosystems sense and respond to their environment

Social Studies
- diverse cultures, backgrounds, and perspectives within the local and other communities
- key events and developments in the local community and in local First Peoples communities
- natural and human-made features of the local environment and the relationship between a community and its environment
how people's needs and wants are met in communities

Aboriginal Studies
- cultural characteristics and ways of life of local First Peoples and global indigenous peoples
- aspects of life shared by and common to peoples and cultures
- interconnections of cultural and technological innovations of global and local indigenous peoples
- governance and social organization in local and global indigenous societies
- oral history, traditional stories, and artifacts as evidence about past First Peoples cultures
- the history of the local community and of local First Peoples communities
- Aboriginal knowledge of the sky and landscape, life cycles, and ecosystems
- traditional and contemporary Aboriginal arts and arts-making processes

Physical and Health Education
- proper technique for fundamental movement skills and different types of physical activities
- relationships between food, hydration, and health and effects of different activities on the body
- practices that promote health and well-being, including those relating to physical activity, nutrition, and illness prevention
- caring behaviours in groups and families, emotions and their causes and effects, and managing and expressing emotions
- ways to monitor physical exertion levels and benefits of physical activity and exercise
- hazards and potentially unsafe situations, and strategies and skills to use in potentially hazardous, unsafe, or abusive situations

Career Education
- risk taking and its role in self-exploration
- cultural and social awareness
- roles and responsibilities at home, at school, and in the local community

Arts Education
- elements in the arts, including dance, drama, music, and visual arts
- processes, materials, movements, technologies, tools, and techniques to support arts activities
- symbolism as a means of expressing specific meaning
- personal and collective responsibility associated with creating, experiencing, and performing in a safe learning environment

Fees for the Forest School

Fees are paid in 3 instalments throughout the year, September, December and March.

While we understand that this is a significant cost for a family, it is necessary in order to provide quality programming with a low student-teacher ratio.