Proposed Mission, Vision and Philosophy for South Canoe Elementary

We invite all South Canoe Elementary Families to take a look at the Proposed Mission, Vision and Philosophy Document  for the school that was put together by the Outdoor Learning Committee and Staff at South Canoe Elementary. Please feel free to provide feedback either by email to or in person at the PAC Meeting on Nov. 19 @ 6:30pm.


The mission of our school community is to inspire learners to act wisely by cultivating healthy relationships with nature, community, and self.


Among staff, we aim to work collaboratively to develop and deliver curriculum and best practices for optimum learning outdoors. Staff at the Outdoor Learning School will encourage, critique, and fuel each other’s practice so as to be better able to support all staff throughout the district in the delivery and growth of their own Outdoor Learning programs.
At a macro level, our aim is to develop a successful program that is replicable in our district and beyond, while contributing to the cultural shift in education towards human and planetary health.

Our aim is to develop and run an Outdoor Learning School where students are taught the B.C. curriculum through nature’s lens and where learning supports the four dimensions of health (mental, physical, emotional, and social) through the following pedagogical approaches:

     1. Mental Wellness: Inquiry-based learning

Learning through curiosity, asking personally meaningful and relevant questions, wondering and seeking solutions, story, play and a balanced academic program. Developing life-long learning habits such as problem solving, creativity, and reflection.

     2. Physical Wellness: Experiential learning

Learning through doing, exploring, trying, failing, reflecting, and bravely trying something new. Learning how to take appropriate learning risks. Making sense of the world through real lived experiences.

    3. Emotional Wellness: Place-based learning

Learning outdoors, growing an understanding of the natural world, and finding our human place within nature. Becoming familiar with the animals, plants, physical features, history, and intricate interconnectedness between components of the natural world, and thereby developing a sense of connection. Learning how to balance care of self and others.

   4. Social Wellness: Learning within a Community

Developing strong and compassionate relationships within all the communities of which we are a part, such as a class, multi-age groups, whole school, neighbourhood, city, etc. Deliberately nurturing gratitude, compassion, resiliency, collaboration, emotional regulation, and confidence.


  • We believe that thoughtful and active learning outdoors in a supportive community allows us to connect and relate to others and to the natural world, which together enables and inspires us to act wisely.
  • We believe that Outdoor Learning is most effective when all four dimensions of wellness are exercised: mental, physical, emotional, and social.
  • We believe that learning is about who we are, how to live well with others, and how to grow joy and balance.
  • We believe that nurturing a sense of connection grows compassion and responsibility: to oneself, to others, and to the natural world.



Diagram – Circle with four quadrants: Place/Inquiry/Community/Experiential

(Will post this Diagram later is it will not format for this media)


The circle is a symbol of connection, unity, and harmony and is recognized as a theoretical framework of Indigenous philosophy. The circle represents the Indigenous belief system of wholeness and balance, which symbolizes inclusion and equality for all.


Program and pedagogy 

  • Deliver an outdoor-focused program founded on inquiry, place-based learning and experiential education
  • Provide learning experiences that enable reflection on the concept of all things being inter-connected.
  • Provide transformative outdoor experiences that are awe-inspiring, imaginative, self-reflective, challenging and cooperative in nature.
  • Develop an educational program that is thoughtful, effective and (to some degree) replicable.
  • Support the professional growth of staff and parents (eg. first aid, certifications, Pro-D)
  • Provide resources and experiences for other schools in our district, including inviting other classes to visit the school and offer a ‘learn-by-doing’ approach for students and Pro-d for teachers.
  • Deliver a balanced outdoor-focused program, using the BC curriculum, and including strong foundations in numeracy and literacy.


  • Build an organizational culture of experimentation (ie. embody experiential ed)
  • Establish a network of supportive community partners
  • Establish a team of teachers and support staff, admin, parents (PAC), advisors and volunteers that are
    positive, inclusive, and supportive of each other’s ideas and work.
  • Cultivate a process-based mindset – the end goal has value but the steps to getting there must be exciting, fun and creative.
  • Achieve organizational stability & develop/implement a sustainable growth plan.
  • Achieve reputation as a model school for outdoor learning in our region and beyond.

Student Attributes 

The following are a list of attributes the OL committee recommends should be fostered through the proposed program:

  • Gratitude
  • Positivity
  • Empathy/Compassion
  • Literacy (Eco and Language Arts)
  • Problem solving
  • Resiliency
  • Collaboration
  • Inclusion
  • Creativity
  • Self-confidence
  • Self-regulation
  • Self-care (Well-being/fitness/nutrition/sleep)
  • Humility
  • Communicativeness
  • Adaptability
  • Mindfulness
  • Risk takers and Risk managers
  • Reflectiveness
  • Curiosity
  • Respect
  • Honesty
  • Acceptance

Introducing the New PAC Executive

On Tuesday Evening after the School Community Potluck, we held our first PAC Meeting with the first task being that of electing a PAC Executive. Thank you to the many parents who attended the meeting and who came to support those who put their names forward. The Parent Advisory Committee (PAC) is the voice of all parents at the school.  Even if you are not on the Executive, we urge you to take part in events and decision making through your PAC.  The next meeting of the PAC will be announced soon.  Childminding will be provided.

In the meantime, I would like to introduce this year’s PAC Executive:


From Left to Right:

Chairperson (President) – Melissa Parmenter, Treasurer – Richard Gage, Vice Chairperson (Vice-President) – Corene Hunter, Secretary – Michelle Purdon


Mid- September News

Exciting things happening at South Canoe Elementary.

Parent Information Night

Thurs. Sept. 20 we will be hosting a parent information night.  Here is the plan for the evening:

6:30pm – Kindergarten and Grade 1 teachers present to the parents of their students.

7:00pm – All parents in the gym for a general session

7:30pm – Grade 2 – 6 teachers will present to the parents of their students

We look forward to seeing many of you there.

South Canoe Elementary Potluck

We hope that many of you can attend the South Canoe Elementary and South Canoe Community Potluck on Sept. 25th from 5:00 – 6:30pm. Please bring a dish to share, plates and cutlery for your family and a chair if the weather is nice, otherwise we’ll be indoors and we’ll set up chairs in the gym.

PAC Elections and Meeting

Our first PAC Meeting will be held in the South Canoe Library at 6:45pm on Sept. 25 right after the Potluck.  According to the protocol for forming a PAC, the first meeting is to be held by the Principal of the School. Elections will be held that evening for the PAC Executive.  Nominations are now open for Chairperson, Vice-Chairperson, Secretary and Treasurer. Please let me know if you would like to nominate someone for one of these positions or if you would like your name to stand. Nominations will also be taken at the first meeting as well. Once the PAC is elected, we will then vote on a constitution which has been constructed using a constitution framework from BCPAC. Once the Executive is in place, changes can be voted in. We will have a presentation from a few photographers as we choose a photographer for individual and class photos. We hope that many can attend this meeting as Parent Advisory Councils (PACs) are extremely important in schools as the body which includes all parents at the school and provides that much welcomed parental voice.

New Parent Information Session

If you know of new parents considering South Canoe for Sept. 2019, please let them know about the New Parent Information Session that we will be holding at the school on Oct. 3 at 7:00pm. There will be a 30 minute presentation and then a Q & A.  Registration for South Canoe and for all schools in the School District is on Oct. 9

Have a wonderful week!




Bell Times and Details

Hi Everyone,

You will most probably not hear the bells ringing at South Canoe Elementary.  We call the start of the day with the drum to gather all students in the field.  The end of the day is announced with 5 beats of the drum.  Once you hear this, your child is free to go home. Here is our Bell Schedule:

7:45am – supervision starts

8:00am – start of day

9:40 am – recess

9:55am – classes start for second half of morning

11:35am – lunch (eat first/play after) – on most days students will be eating

outside with supervision.

12:27pm – classes resume for the afternoon

2:00pm – end of day- student pick up


South Canoe Update

We have less than two weeks to go before the start of the school year. Thank you to parents who are able to come to volunteer to help out.  We know that it is not necessarily good timing for everyone, but we appreciate any help that we can get.  Next week will be a very busy one.

Thank you to Parent Maryke Simmons and her son Harry who have organized a Gear Swap Area at the school.  Come and check it out starting next Tuesday.  Right now there are just a few things in that area, but we anticipate to have more with time.  Maryke writes:

“Please come check out our “Gear Swap” area, located at the south end of the school. To promote reusing and to make gear lists easier for all our students, we’ve made a space where you can give what you want and take what you need!
We’ve got bins to drop off & pick-up any unused or 


outgrown outdoor gear/ clothing and a board to post items for sale (reasonably priced).
Any questions or suggestions are welcome; please contact Maryke”

Parent Michelle Atkins had asked me to send out some ideas for after school childcare options. A few daycares have responded saying that they provide an after school program and will do pick up at South Canoe.  This includes Summit Kids Care and Discovery Kids.  No other daycares have contacted me yet, but if there is a need other daycares may decide to do the same. You may want to contact them directly.

Have a wonderful last week with your children!  We’re looking forward to having your child explore the great outdoors with us as we all learn together, by questioning, observing and sharing. We have some great tools to work with, but most importantly an amazing staff that is excited to welcome our students.

All the best!

Isabelle Gervais





Open House at South Canoe

group ribbon cutting

The sun was shining and enthusiasm was boiling over at the Open House for South Canoe Elementary and the Outdoor Learning Program on Thursday evening. It was lovely to have our new South Canoe Families join us to celebrate the re-opening of the school.

Thank you to Louis Thomas, Nesconlith Councillor and Knowledge Keeper who shared a wonderful message for the school. There was an official ribbon cutting with one of our youngest and one of our oldest students students who will be attending in Sept. Families then had an opportunity to tour the school and to meet other families who will be part of this community.

Principal Isabelle Gervais reported there are 102 students currently registered in the K – 6 outdoor learning program which begins in September.


Kindergarten Orientation

ribbon cuttingribbon cutIt was an exciting day at South Canoe today as we welcomed our new kindergarten students and their families! Twenty of the students were able to attend and took part in learning stations, games, a tour of the school and then snacks! We also had a mini ribbon cutting to celebrate the day!

Don’t miss the official Open House on Thursday at 4:30 p.m. to 6 p.m. Looking forward to seeing all of our Outdoor Learning families!

Welcome to the South Canoe Elementary, Outdoor Learning Program School Website

May 31:  Information about South Canoe Kindergarten Orientation below.  June 12, 9:30 a.m. at South Canoe.

Kindergarten Orientation – SC

May 29:  South Canoe Updates

Open House:  June 14th (4:30p.m. -6 p.m.)

We will be hosting an open house for parents from 4:30 to 6 p.m.

There will be Parent Information, introduction of staff, updates on transportation, parking, traffic flow, student drop off, formation of PAC, student supplies for September and time for questions. Hope to see you there.

Kindergarten Orientation:  June 12th, 9:30 a.m. at South Canoe.  Our South Canoe Outdoor Learning Kindergarten Orientation for our incoming Kindergarten students AND parents is ready to host our newest students and parents.  Hope to see you there.

May 23:  Preliminary budget was passed last night at Board Meeting.  This included South Canoe ongoing costs in terms of staffing, learning materials and more.  We continue to work to have a great start up in September.

May 17:  We are pleased to announce that Isabelle Gervais will be the principal of South Canoe and the Outdoor Learning Program.

May 17:  Kindergarten Orientation: Kindergarten Orientation for South Canoe students will be June 12th at South Canoe, 9:30 a.m.  This will be our first official student event!

Open House: We will be having a parent open house for parents/guardians of all registered South Canoe -Outdoor Learning students on June 14th.  Further details to be posted.

May 16:  South Canoe School Opening -Approved by Agricultural Land Commission

Today we received the much anticipated approval from the Agricultural Land Commission for South Canoe to be opened as a school site for September 2018.  South Canoe has an active website which will be updated regularly with new information.

Shortly we will be announcing the principal and then posting teaching and support staff positions and being the process of hiring staff. Thank you for your patience while we awaited final approval.  We look forward to a truly unique and excellent educational opportunity for your child(ren).

I would also like to thank the many great people that have worked hard to make this a reality on our district, district staff, parents, community members, South Canoe community and many more.  In particular, I would like to acknowledge the excellent work of the Outdoor Learning Committee who started work on this project 2 years ago, and have put in countless hours of hard work.  Outdoor Learning Committee members are:  Amanda Bowlby, Ceren Caner, Adam Barraball, Chris Stromgren, Susan Brown, Kira Limber, Irene LaBoucane, Glen Overgaard and Isabelle Gervais

Finally a thank you to our Superintendent, Peter Jory and Trustee, Mike McKay for supporting this initiative.

Looking forward to welcoming the first students ever to the Outdoor Learning Program at South Canoe in September.


May 7th:  Wilderness First Aid Training.  This past weekend we had 5 educators take Wilderness First Aid Training through the local college in preparation for our Outdoor Learning Program opening this fall.

May 2nd update:  Our facilities department anticipates that South Canoe will be ready to go by Mid-June.  Furniture, books already being purchased.  We are all looking forward to September 2018.

April 13th update:  Posted by Carl Cooper, Director of Instruction

We are proceeding with preparation and planning to re-open South Canoe Elementary with our Outdoor Learning Program for September, 2018. We are still awaiting final approval from the Agricultural Land Commission (ALC) to rezone South Canoe back to use as a school. The ALC has our application and a decision should be coming shortly. I again want to reassure all parents and guardians that IF the South Canoe site is not re-opened that your child ‘keeps’ there spot at their current school.

Our facilities department have already begun work at South Canoe and is preparing the school for September, job postings for teachers are ready to go in our regular staffing process, and our technology department is beginning work on wiring, etc.  Work continues on school policies and procedures, and initiating this school website. We will be ready to go by September and we are excited about the prospects of this new initiative in our school district. Indeed, we have had several inquiries from out of district and out of province parents looking to move here and be part of the Outdoor Education Program. We have also had a number of out of district teachers inquire about teaching in our district as Outdoor Educators.

Updates: We will post any new information and updates to this website. Please check this site regularly.


Should I register at a back-up school?

No, you can only be registered at one school (South Canoe). However, if South Canoe was not to re-open your child’s registration would revert to their current school. I want to reiterate, that while we cannot presume any decision by the ALC, that we are optimistic that the school will be approved given the overwhelming community support.

If you have any questions about the Outdoor Learning School please contact Isabelle Gervais at Bastion Elementary, 250-832-3741 or Carl Cooper at District Office, 250-804-7826.

Looking forward to September, 2018