Beyond the Classroom

Outdoor Education

Nature is a powerful teacher.
Whether it’s a hike in a nearby ravine, pitching a tent at camp or an overnight wilderness expedition, the Outdoor and Environmental Education program introduces students to the wonders of the natural world, and the responsibility to protect it. Through both curricular and co-curricular experiences, students are exposed to outdoor skills and have the opportunity to try new things.

Junior School

Outdoor Nature Connection is another way that our youngest students experience inquiry-based learning with an equity mindset. Using our Reggio-inspired approach, the curriculum is emergent and student-led. Regular afternoon visits to a nearby ravine both inform classroom curriculum, and respond to it. For instance, when Grade 1 students were harvesting food from their indoor garden, this led to discussions in the ravine about responsible harvesting, being a good visitor in nature and forming positive relationships with all living things. The trees, river and wildlife become extensions of the classroom, as the students explore how to be active, engaged and ethical citizens in nature.
This program, unique to the BSS Junior School, actively builds connections with local Indigenous elders and Knowledge Keepers.

Middle and Senior School

Student Learning
Rain or shine, students in the Middle and Senior School participate in regular outdoor activities and experiences as part of the curriculum. These experiences range from learning how to orienteer, make a fire, tie knots or build a shelter, to activities like snowshoeing, biking and rock climbing, to learning about the land with Indigenous community members. Students learn life skills, test their grit, teamwork and leadership, and develop a sense of responsibility and stewardship for the environment. In Grade 7, they participate in an overnight camping trip where they put their skills to the test and engage in team-building activities with their peers. There are also optional overnight trips available to students in the Middle and Senior grades.
Duke of Ed
The Duke of Edinburgh’s International Award (Duke of Ed) challenges students in Grades 9 to 12 to foster positive lifestyle habits and skills through physical activities, outdoor expeditions and service to the community. The award has three levels: Bronze, Silver and Gold. Each level requires a higher degree of commitment to complete. At any time, more than 100 BSS students are working on levels for the Duke of Ed. Trips are offered every year for each of the three levels. Previous trips have included yurting and hiking in Point Pelee National Park, canoe tripping in Temagami and sea kayaking in British Columbia. While on these adventures, students showcase their grit, work in teams to solve problems and make deep and lasting connections with each other. 
Paddling at fall camp. Cross-country skiing at winter camp. For many BSS students, this is their idea of fun – and challenge! The Statten-Northway Award, exclusive to BSS, is an optional program in Grades 7 and 8. It requires students to be involved in service, skills development and physical recreation. By committing to participate in these experiences for a specific number of hours, students build their leadership and teamwork skills, practice curiosity and learn the value of ethical citizenship. Around half of students in Grades 7 and 8 opt to participate in this award each year.

Outdoor Education Participation 2023-24

List of 4 items.

  • 47

    Bronze Duke of Ed recipients
  • 24

    Silver Duke of Ed recipients
  • 5

    Gold Duke of Ed recipients
  • 36

    Statten-Northway Award recipients

What outdoor education looks like at BSS