Wide support indicated for outdoor schooling

More than 150 parents attended session to learn more about district’s proposal to move classes outside

It appears that many parents in the Langley school district are interested in offering their children the chance to learn about the world by getting out of the classroom and into nature on a regular basis.

Langley parents appear to be thinking outside the classroom.

More than 150 people interested in learning more about Langley School District’s proposal to create an outdoor school program attended an information session in January.

“The reception to the program has been overwhelmingly positive, and now  we will continue to work on the details, including where the program will be housed,” said school district spokesman Ken Hoff.

The district currently has enough applications to move forward as the program has garnered enough interest to make it viable, said Hoff. Three potential school sites have been identified to act as a base for the program — Nicomekl Elementary, Parkside or Fort Langley Elementary. It is still unclear where most of the teaching will take place, whether it be in Langley parks as the main hub or based out of the school.

The hope is to fill two outdoor classrooms in the first year, said Barry Bunyan, the school district administrator, who is facilitating the new outdoor program.

It’s expected to begin this September with registration beginning soon.

All the teachers on the team agreed that a combined class of Kindergarten and Grades 1 and 2 together can be beneficial for role modelling, leadership and growth.

An outdoor program would incorporate the complete B.C. curriculum with learning taking place outdoors in the natural environment as much as possible.

Students will be encouraged to explore, investigate and interact with natural settings and will be given the opportunity to develop a deep connection to those places.