News and Events

The Purpose and Power of Place Based Learning

Spring will have sprung, birds will be birding, shoots will shooting, and we – as the innovative teachers that we are – will be introducing a new element to our already ingenious and pedagogically driven program. What I’m referring to is our new post Spring Break schedule*. We love our Wednesdays that are filled with experiences where we get to help our community and augment our PHE program, but we’ve always wanted to do more place based learning – learning that is driven by the places in which we are situated. That is why we’ve opened up our Wednesdays and been very thoughtful about where we want students to learn and how it fits with our curriculum. When our excursions are limited to Wednesday afternoons, we have to choose programs that fit a limited time period – skating is a perfect for hour, but learning about ecology and culture on top of a mountain is not! When we want to take our students farther or give them a better immersion experience, we need a full day. We need a full day for many excursions such as a trip to three museums at UBC, the Hiwus Cultural Centre at the top of Grouse, or the Britannia Mines in Squamish. These are local places that are the resources for learning; places that have been curated to teach us about history, the environment, literature, and art. We want these place based learning experiences for our students without having to compromise our curriculum learning, and, lucky us, we got to make that choice!

Victoria van Schouwen
Teacher at IPS

*As part of the innovative middle school student program at Island Pacific School, our final term has been restructured to include a weekly full day of experiential learning and inquiry based learning activities. Connecting the curriculum to the world beyond classroom walls.