Wild Island Forest Academy will provide a unique learning environment to primary and elementary school-aged students. Children will learn in both woodland and indoor classrooms, so as to ensure that the subjects they explore are consistently supported by real-world experiences. In order to integrate the outdoors into the provincial curriculum, Project Wild and Below Zero, Canadian Wildlife Federation programs, will be used in conjunction with NL Education and Early Childhood Development Curriculum Guidelines.
Project Wild and Below Zero are conceptual frameworks that encourage learner development from awareness to action and are thematically organized into seven sections: Awareness and Appreciation; Diversity of Wildlife Values; Ecological Principles; Management and Conservation; People, Culture, and Wildlife; Trends, Issues, and Consequences; and Responsible Human Actions. These frameworks are designed to be infused into mandated curriculum subjects such as art, health, language arts, math, music, physical education, science, and social studies, and have already been sanctioned by the Newfoundland Department of Education. The teacher and facilitators at Wild Island Forest Academy will attend a workshop specific to the use of these frameworks within the provincial curriculum.
Wild Island Forest Academy wishes to work with the Newfoundland Department of Education as an experiential school, implementing the programming into its curriculum as set out by the Canadian Wildlife Federation. Wild Island Forest Academy hopes to provide a model of outdoor education in practice for Newfoundland and Labrador schools.
Our child:educator ratio is small to ensure adequate time and space for our licensed teachers and outdoor educators to gently guide and support children so they can develop into confident and competent life-long learners. Educators direct their focus on the individuality and strengths of each student, thus enabling them to grow and to learn in their own time. We believe that everyone has something to learn, as well as something to teach. For this very reason, children of all ages spend regular group time together each day where they have the opportunity to connect, engage, and learn as individuals and a community.
We also recognize that not all children learn in the same way or at the same pace; children are therefore given time and space to work in smaller groups based on their development, their level of understanding, and their interests. Children also have ample opportunity to explore concepts independently. In an outdoor setting, children are more relaxed and open to experiences that present themselves. They also have more opportunities to act on their natural instinct to move – in a productive and meaningful way.