Our kids attend public elementary school in North Vancouver, and after one of them got to spend this year in a makeshift outdoor classroom created by her amazing teacher with multiple walking field trips in the forest each week, we’ve seen first-hand how motivational it has been for the students. Math & Science aren’t just studied using a blackboard and books – they learn about them through the natural world and we’ve never seen these kids so inspired. This has lead us to wonder what other outdoor learning opportunities might be available on the North Shore, and Saplings new K-4 Nature School has us intrigued, to say the least. Our kids have loved their summer camps in the past, and we’re not surprised Saplings has opened a year-round Nature School!
Encouraged by the enthusiasm received from parents at their preschool & afterschool programs, and their popular summer camps, Saplings has now created their own Kindergarten to Grade 4 Learning Centre in partnership with Island Discovery Learning Community. Aware of the countless benefits that educating outdoors has on student motivation and engagement, the Saplings team wanted to disrupt the idea that the traditional four-walled classroom is the best & only place to stimulate learning and teach children. And they were not alone!
Together with their educators and foundational families, Saplings is a community program that teaches children to be active citizens and engage critically in the world. Their project-based approach to both indoor and outdoor classrooms allows students to delve deeply into diverse topics while following their ideas and interests. By helping students gain the strong foundational skills of asking broad questions, noticing details, and thinking through issues, educators encourage students to really engage with their learning.
What Parents Are Saying
I drive from South East Van with her little brother in the car, juggling naps and pick up across a bridge so that she can be at Saplings. The teachers are like nowhere else: the knowledge combined with an outstanding open mind makes for creative learning that is rare. My daughter’s physical confidence has exploded from being trusted to conquer the forest. Her emotional skills & understanding of others are nurtured. Lastly, I feel heard when I communicate with anyone in the school. I promise you Saplings is the best-kept secret in the Lower Mainland.
BOOK YOUR NATURE SCHOOL TOUR TODAY!
Saplings Nature School is centrally located for families in Pemberton Heights at 1390 West 22nd Street in North Vancouver. They have a few spots available in grades K-4 for the 2021-2022 school year, and tours can be booked for 9:30 am or 10:30 am on weekday mornings throughout the summer. You can meet Heather and her team of amazing teachers, and explore the school & natural surroundings that would form the backdrop of your child’s education if your family chooses to join the Saplings community!
The Saplings team believes that nature is a child’s best education. They believe that fostering a child’s sense of wonder for the great outdoors by facilitating inspirational, stimulating, and hands-on experiences promotes lifelong learning and interest in the outdoors. The goal is to foster compassion and empathy by increased awareness of and connection to the natural world.
Born & raised in Vancouver, and co-founder of Healthy Family Media and the Healthy Family Expo, Angela is a reformed divorce lawyer turned healthy family champion! By day, she thrives on connecting conscious brands with busy Vancouver families. By night, you’ll find her wrangling two feisty daughters, choosing between instant pot or healthy freezer meals for dinner, and singing with MomChoir. She especially loves sharing her favourite family-friendly finds with other Lower Mainland parents!