Our vision is to give wings to eco- and social learning through play by braiding together outdoor learning, farm to table gardening, and climate leadership for our 7-9th grade cohort. This includes mountain hiking, downhill skiing and snowboarding, avalanche courses, educational gardening, culinary arts and big table gatherings, co-creating a vision for the Earth in the face of climate change, and climate and compassionate science – all wrapped up in student leadership. Our mission is to enable these three components (outdoors, gardening, and climate leadership) to be sustainable and embedded in the school culture, while enhancing them through experiential learning through play.
Tell us about your team and your school community.
Located in Nelson, British Columbia, Sentiers-Alpins is a French public school from kindergarten to grade 9. Our values are courage, well-being, caring and connection – with Reconciliation at the heart of it all. Our learning is rooted in place, which extends from our small rural town – full of artists, athletes, and committed people – to the mountain tops, including Kokanee Glacier. Our inclusive school-community continues its efforts towards anti-racism and equity, which aligns with our vision and mission to unite and inspire our school-community through quality francophone education that contributes to a more equitable world, a healthy planet and fulfilled people. Our small school with a big heart is bright and warm, and our new high school programming is growing.
Tell us about the importance of learning through play for your team and for your students.
Play-based learning addresses many needs – social-emotional, physical, mental and even spiritual. It builds relationships, values what children do so well (play!) as a way of learning, and addresses performance anxiety and other issues. All of this helps develop a sense of belonging for young people in a minority Francophone school. At the same time, this approach can also allow staff to grow by exploring their passions with the students. Young and old, we learn to play and we learn by playing.
Tell us about your interest in joining the Canadian Playful Schools Network.
We are interested in expanding our school’s green momentum to spend more and more time outdoors in meaningful, playful learning situations for our students and our community. We are excited to have not only resource support, but also time, networking (adults and students alike) and research support. Breaking isolation and giving hope through inspiring projects and potential encounters – with schools from across the country… wow!