More than 100,000 students have participated in Strathcona’s unique outdoor education programs since we imported this style of learning to Canada in 1959.
Students, teachers and chaperones come to Strathcona to challenge themselves in a range of outdoor activities and adventures. Along the way they bond, share and learn together in ways that could never happen in a traditional classroom. They return home enriched and empowered with a new sense of their surroundings and appreciation for their colleagues.
Typically, schools visit Strathcona Park Lodge in the spring and fall for three to five days (programs vary). Some are multi-sport and are based out of the Lodge, while other programs are focused on specific activities, like rock climbing, sea kayaking and backpacking, and are mostly camping based.
Either way, students are taught by highly trained, certified and enthusiastic leaders, eat nutritious and delicious food, and learn a ton about themselves, each other while working as a team.
We call it the Strathcona Circle. These six guiding principles dictate everything we do at Strathcona Park Lodge, from holistic-style education to waste reduction. Our instructors will engage the students in the principles of the Strathcona Circle throughout their time at the Lodge.
BRINGING THE INDOOR AND OUTDOOR CLASSROOMS TOGETHER
A program at Strathcona can complement the classroom curriculum. Complementary studies in science, geography, literature and other subjects can take place before, during and after a trip to Strathcona. Compiling photographic and written journals and completing exercises during a program can extend outdoor learning back into the classroom. Ask the program manager for more information on making the connection.
Teachers and trip organizers are encouraged to speak with Strathcona’s Program Managers to establish objectives for their program. For some groups, particularly at the beginning of the school term when students and teachers may not know each other very well, social goals may be the primary focus. For others, climbing one of Strathcona Provincial Park’s many peaks or overcoming fear of moving water may be the goal.
Students can work on proficiency in one or more outdoor pursuit, such as rock climbing or kayaking. Being in a pristine wilderness area can be an opportunity to let students develop a connection and an understanding of the environment. Focusing on group dynamics, closure at the end of the year and French Immersion programming are other options.
Whether it is a day trip or overnight camp out, out-trips are at the heart of a Strathcona program. During the out-trip, students can practice the skills they have learned throughout the week, whether paddling a canoe down Upper Campbell Lake or co-operating to set up a group shelter. Out-trips can be a simple day outing or an expedition lasting a week or more. Instruction in minimum impact camping, natural history, navigation, outdoor cooking and many other skills take place during the expedition.
Teachers and supervising adults are encouraged to take part in the programs alongside the students. They should be present during all activities to assist the instructor if required. We ask that the adults take a step back at times to allow students to solve a problem or to make decisions during their program.
Teachers and supervisors are responsible for the students when they are not with their Instructor (i.e. during mealtimes, before and after programmed activities, and during the night while at the Lodge).
Instructors are responsible for teaching, safety and discipline during the activities. Instructors will ask adults for assistance in difficult situations as required. As well, adults are expected to lead by example and act as responsible seconds on the out-trip and during lessons. Teachers are asked to complete an evaluation of Strathcona Park Lodge at the end of their program.