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Place-Based Learning

Place-based learning with location icon

Place-based learning uses the local environment and community as the starting point for teaching the objectives of the curriculum. We will provide resources and create opportunities for cross-curricular learning on the land and in and around local communities while fostering relationships between school and community partners and members. Teachers are expected and supported to take more learning outdoors for all the health and learning benefits that come with spending time outside and in nature. Some examples:

  • Outdoor learning structures at all schools
  • Investment in equipment for outdoor activities and learning
  • Ensuring all students have access to clothing, and footwear for outdoor activities
  • Participation in the year-long Take Me Outside For Learning Challenge
  • Support for educator participation in learning opportunities to build capacity for outdoor learning (Cariboo-Chilcotin Teachers Association workshops and network, Environmental Education Provincial Specialist Association (EEPSA) partnerships, Open Learning Store webinars, Outdoor Council of Canada certification, other)
  • Relationships with community educators, organizations, and facilities to bring community educators into the classroom and students out into community settings
  • Independent Directed Study (IDS) framework to honour community and cultural learning with graduation program credits

Keep scrolling to see how our district is showing place-based learning this year!

Learning in the Community Forest

Nesika Elementary

Take them outside for learning! Many classes from Nesika and other schools have had the opportunity to learn alongside Jenny Howell and other WaterWise volunteers at the Williams Lake Community Forest. This fantastic space is accessible for all the community and a must-see walk for learning.


Medicine Club

Nesika Elementary

Ms. Murphy and Mrs. Swampy have been teaching students in grade 5 & 6 about local medicine all year long. Students learned about the medicinal benefits of pitch and bark (as pictured). medicine%20club%20nesika.jfif

Releasing Salmon Fry

Nesika Elementary

Melissa Therrien's class worked with Martin Krus and Scout Island Nature Center to raise salmon this year inside their classroom. All year long they've had visits to share learning about the salmon life cycle and attributes. They recently had the opportunity to release their baby salmon back to nature. 


Acts of Service at the Salvation Army

Lake City Secondary

Ms. Andres brought her Foods 12 classes to the Salvation Army to learn about what they do for our community. The students helped make and serve lunch as well as helped the food bank process donations, to be given out. The students commented that it was a great trip as they appreciated learning more about the Salvation Army and about food insecurity in our community.


Visiting the Chilcotin River to Release Salmon

Alexis Creek Elementary Jr Sec School 

On a very warm afternoon on June 6th, we joined Martin Kruus to release the Chinook fry that we raised this year. We took a field trip to a spot along the Chilcotin River, where the water flows slower, and there are plants in the water that the fry can hide in. We learned a lot about the salmon’s habitat from Martin. We learned about the Fraser River watershed and how it empties out in to the Pacific Ocean. Eventually the fry that survive their trip down the Chilcotin and Fraser Rivers will swim out to the ocean to live. One day they will return to this area to spawn. Students enjoyed their learning experiences.




Life Cycle of a Chicken

Early Learning

"We are excited to be offering unique learning experiences for families at StrongStart.  100 Mile House Elementary StrongStart is currently learning about the life cycle of a chicken.  The class is fortunate to have eggs incubating in their classroom and are thrilled to announce the arrival of some baby chicks.  For many families this is a new experience and has engaged children in actively learning about life cycles.  We are excited to engage families in new learning experiences throughout our programs.  If you have not had the opportunity to check out one of our Strong Start centres, you really should!!"


Medicinal Plant hike during our Culture Week

Nataneqed Elementary Junior School

Students, parents and community members went hiking with elders and plant experts to find medicinal plants. We learned where plants grow, and what their medicinal properties are. Very interesting!


WILD School - Project Learning Tree

Tatla Lake Elem/Junior Secondary

"Grateful to HCTF and our facilitator Martin Kruus for leading us through Year 2 of WILD School! The Wild Schools program uses hands-on environmental teaching learning strategies to engage learners through a process of Wondering, Inquiring, Learning and Doing—being WILD with BC’s biodiversity!  Students and staff thoroughly enjoyed the Project Learning Tree activities!"



Bike Days

Alexis Creek Elem/Junior Secondary 

Students at Alexis Creek Elem/Junior Secondary School were honored to have Mary Forbes come out to our school on May 2nd, and May 6th. She made "Bike Days" a favourite memory for everyone. Students were very engaged and attentive as they learned about such things as the names of tools, how to use them, and the parts found on different types of bikes. With excitement, students use real tools to take apart bikes, and learn to re-use the parts to put bikes together. Mary spreads love, kindness, and generosity to all of the students. She puts bikes together for children who do not have a bike. With Mary's help, students put a bike together for Miah. Happy birthday Miah! Thank you to staff and PAC for helping to plan and organize this event.


Cataline Earth Day Challenge 


In partnership with with eXp Realty and Prifor Management, Cataline students helped support the “1000 Trees” Challenge, by planting as many trees as possible during Earth Day, April 22/24. Each student was gifted a tree to plant at home while classes took to the Cataline Forest and surrounding landscape to plant trees in an act of hope and renewal for our community and our planet. Students were demonstrating their commitment to help heal the land from the recent forest fires and take a stand against climate change. 


Beautiful for Fishing

Skyline Alternate

Taking learning outside always makes for a great day.   The students all caught fish, measured depth of water, measured the thickness of the ice, built a fire and cooked their lunch. The weather was amazing and we can not wait to do it again!!



Thomas-Dueck Pow Wow


Columneetza hosted a Pow Wow for students, staff, parents/caregivers and community.  Thank you to Williams Lake First Nation and Chief Willie Sellars for all of the support!  Thank you to the Columneetza Pow Wow committee for all of the planning and organizing!  The Pow Wow was a way for Columneetza school to be a part of the reconciliation process in Williams Lake and community.  It was great to have so many schools from the district and community attend throughout the day as well. 



Ice Fishing on Konni Lake

Naghtaneqed Elem/Junior Secondary

Students spent the afternoon on Konni Lake ice fishing! Community members and parents joined us showing students the auger process, putting bait on the fishing line and how to fish. Students also enjoyed team snow people making and snow sculptures. 


Winterfest 2024

Early Learning

SD27 Ready, Set, Learn Winterfest events bring families and service providers together at local community recreation ice rinks.  This free family event provides families the opportunity to come and skate and utilize gear provided should they desire.  This year, SD27 partnered with the Cariboo Chilcotin Conservation Society’s Skates For All and provided over 25 pairs of skates for families to enjoy and take home, along with safety helmets.  

This event invites the public and all StrongStart families to meet at the rink and enjoy a wonderous morning of early learning.  Stories are shared, crafts are created, cookies are decorated and gobbled up, snowballs are tossed, snowmen are built, skating is enjoyed with our very own skating snowman, and children are provided with mittens to take home after completing the “mitten hunt”.

We are excited to promote physical literacy in such a dynamic way, connecting families to our local recreation complexes and amazing service providers; Interior Health, Cariboo Family Enrichment Center, Cariboo Chilcotin Partners for Literacy, Cariboo Regional District Library and our SD27 StrongStart Educators.  We thank our community partners and families for making this annual event such a fun activity!



Cataline Goes Green!

Cataline Elementary

Ms. Riley and Mr. Armstrong's grade 5/6 students have taken on the challenge of making our school and community a greener place! Collaboratively we made posters and presented abut recycling to each class and then provided them with a new set of bins. We collect the bins every Thursday and an adult transports the recycling to the transfer station so we can keep more waste out of our landfill.


A Brief Winter Wonderland

100 Mile Elementary

Though the snow season has left us wanting, Mrs. Helmer’s class was able to get out on our snowshoes and enjoy a perfect Friday afternoon. We are fortunate enough that our school is less than 500m away from beautiful Centennial Park, offering us a step into nature with rolling hills, a waterfall, and a beautiful creek. Though we traipsed around and cut a nice trail it didn’t take long for the wild thing inside the students to come out and they made their way up a steep and wooded hill, imagining themselves explorers from another time. Winter brings many people indoors for the season, and this activity offers an opportunity to get out into nature in an easily accessible way., connecting us to our place.


A Collective Howl at Nesika

Nesika Elementary


The Full Moon in January is colloquially known as the Wolf Moon. Every once in a while we need to be able to come together and simply be reminded that we're all here together. We need to share that breath, that temporary reprieve - that wider perspective. The collective full moon howl is a way to design that experience back in! 

Classes at Nesika came together for a collective howl during outdoor learning time! What a way to connect to nature, to cross-cultural learning, to our feelings, and also model being a little different, fierce, silly, stoic, you name it. Here is Mrs. Testawich’s class embracing their inner wolves. 


Winter Learning

150 Mile Elementary

With snow and frosty conditions the staff and students at 150 Mile went outside to learn science curriculum relating to animal habitat, ecosystems and how plants and animals adapt to winter conditions.



Fall Art

150 Mile Elementary

Using the WLFN ranch land behind the school to gather natural supplies for the creation of art, our students blossomed. Each student individually or in pairs developed a unique piece of art work that reflected natural color blends and the local environment. A very engaging activity made possible by WLFN allowing us access to their land behind the school for learning.  


Local Government

Marie Sharpe Elementary

Mr. Parkin's grade 5/6 class spent the Fall Term learning about various forms of local government.  They were given the opportunity to meet both the Mayor of Williams Lake, Surinderpal Raathor, and Kukpi7 Willie Sellars.  Students were allowed to meet both Leaders and engage in discussions on how to make improvements in Williams Lake.

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Cooking and Tasting Game from the Cariboo-Chilcotin

Lake City Secondary

Exploring and appreciating the food in our area...CORE meets Cooking. Miss Chupa's CORE class joined Miss Hoffman's Foods 12 class and created amazing dishes with Elk, Bison, Deer, Moose, and Salmon! Students also made a delicious bannock side. Many in the school had an opportunity to taste. What an amazing area we live in!

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Thank You Williams Lake Association for Community Living

SD27 Board Office

The Board Office is pleased to have the support of WLACL for our recycling program. WLACL Works staff provide weekly pick up of our bin contents and are helping us learn what can be recycled and to do it well as we become more responsible about managing the waste we create. 


Taking Math Outside

Skyline Alternate School

Students built a clinometer and went out and about in the community using their clinometer and measuring tape to apply the principles of trigonometry to determine the elevation change between two points.  

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Students learn outdoor survival skills.

Lake City Secondary

Lake City's CORE class took their learning outside with survival training that included building shelters and learning how to start a fire without matches. 

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Outside is the place to be!

Dog Creek Elementary

Spending time in our community and on the land is an exciting way to learn. We monitor the depth of our creek, visit neighbours, and observe the environment around us and how it is changing with the seasons. 

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School Composting Program 

Cataline Elementary

Mrs. Neufeld's grade 2 class has partnered with Oliver Burgar and the Potato House to lead a school composting program at Cataline Elementary. Mrs. Neufeld and Oliver have been helping the students learn about the process of organic matter breaking down and decomposing in the soil. The students are learning about science while helping the school reduce its waste and carbon footprint.  

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Scout Island Science

150 Mile Elementary

Mrs. Coulombe's Grade 1/2 class explored science by making and recording observations at Scout Island. They were learning about the names of local plants and animals and the structural features of things in the local environment.

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Learning Survival Skills with Skyline

Skyline Alternate School

Skyline students had to choose 2 items to start a fire (in a can). They used their problem-solving skills and loved the activity. Fires were lit in under 6 minutes and they discussed which items worked and demonstrated amazing teamwork while testing different methods. We ended the day with a tasty grazing board from Mint and Lime.


Migratory Bird Study

Big Lake Elementary

Big Lake School is one of 3 schools in Canada to participate in the Amigos Alados project. Students are learning about migratory birds that follow the Pacific Flyway migratory route - through collaboration with pen pals in another country. Objectives of this program are “learning about birds and the conservation of species and habitat to develop a sense of environmental stewardship.” It is our collective responsibility to consider wildlife beyond our community - in a global context. 


Orienteering in Big Lake

Big Lake Elementary

During "Take Me Outside for Learning Week" Martin Kruus visited Big Lake School to teach students about mapping and orienteering. Students enjoyed this place-based learning opportunity. 

Photo Credit: Darci Heard


Makers Club Project

Horsefly Elementary

The Horsefly Makers Club collects driftwood to create desktop pencil holders. 


Building Mapping Skills in our own Backyard

Lac La Hache Elementary

The intermediate students enjoyed honing their map skills as well as working on plant identification to gain some empathy for the challenges faced by many of Canada's early explorers. 


Cataline Cares: Buddy Classes Make Art and Letter for Terra Ridge 

Cataline Elementary

Mrs. Dikur's Gr 4/5 class and Mrs. Enns Kindergarten class used their buddy time together this week to complete both an art project and letter to residents affected by the evacuation alerts and orders in our community. This is an example of both our collective responsibility at Cataline by making connections and caring for kids as well as Place Based learning as students were inspired by changing leaves and our local community. They were presented in person and appreciated by the residents. We are proud of our community connections! 

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TMO4L Fall Networking Event

District Pro-D

Interested SD27 educators had the opportunity to meet with colleagues and community educators connected to many of the organizations, programs, and supports available to help take learning outside into the beautiful Cariboo-Chilcotin. The gathering was held after school on a beautiful autumn day at Scout Island and of course there was food! 

Partners included EEPSA, CCTA Outdoor Learning Network, Scout Island Nature Centre, Potato House,  Invasive Species Council Plants, Bull Mountain, Gavin Lake Forest Education Centre,  Project Wild North Cariboo, Waste Wise, Dump Trips, Cariboo Conservation Society Waste Wise, UBC Alex Fraser Research Forest, "Wild and Immersive" on Fox Mountain, Foundry, Kid Sport, Pedal by the Puddle, and Streets for All.

There are already plans in the work to do an event in the South end of the district and for partners and the CCTA to work together on other interactive learning and connection. 


The Place Where the Lady Turned to Stone

Alexis Creek Elementary Jr. Secondary

On Thursday, October 5th, our school visited a local sacred place, where students learned the stories of a woman changed to stone and how this is a special healing place. Students placed offerings and sang honorary songs.


Plant Walk

Alexis Creek Elementary

The Invasive Species Educational Trailer visited our school and part of the program included going on a plant identification walk. And yes, some invasive plants were found.


Reaching for the Sky

Skyline Alternate School

The students of Skyline went for a walk after our discussion on “Seven Principles of Leave No Trace.” Skyline students were learning social responsibility as they followed trails and went climbing at the climbing wall. Fun was had by all. 


Invasive Weed Pull

150 Mile Elementary

After several guest speakers and lessons on invasive species, the students put knowledge into action and did a sweep and pull of invasive species on the front section of the school grounds.


Outdoor Learning at Forest Grove

Forest Grove Elementary

Students engaged in an educational and Indigenous scavenger hunt.


TMO4L All Week at Skyline

Skyline Alternate School

Skyline went outside every day last week. The events were fun and had a positive impact on our students. The students were enthusiastic and engaged in all aspects of learning and we plan to carry this forward next week, next month and the rest of the year.



Creek Study

150 Mile Elementary

Students at 150 Mile Elementary take to the field to study creek habitats and look for critters in their natural habitat. Efforts to stay dry were mixed!


Local Likely Learning: UNBC Fish Hatchery

Likely Elementary

Likely students spent a day learning about the role of the Quesnel River hatchery in rehabilitating Salmon ‘runs’ in central B.C.. Students listened to a Salmon lifecycle story beneath a cedar ‘cave’ tree.  No one had to hunt too hard to find spawning salmon and eagles along the riverbank. The highlight of the day was painting deceased salmon to create fish prints and dissecting the salmon for a basic anatomy lesson.


Take Me Outside Day at Tatla Lake School

Tatla Lake Elementary

Take Me Outside Day helps to raise awareness about outdoor learning by encouraging educators to take their learners outside.  This year students at Tatla Lake Elementary & Jr. Secondary School moved beyond the four walls of the classroom to create beautiful art, listen to stories, and engage in numeracy tasks.


Take Me Outside!

100 Mile Elementary

 Take Me Outside week found the students at 100 Mile Elementary looking to nature to create pieces of art. Mrs. Varney's K class, and Mr. Dunk's 3/4 headed off to Centennial Park to soak up some autumn sunshine and collect a variety of leaves in a rainbow of colours and sizes. While the Ks made their very own characters, the 3/4s crafted window pictures to allow the light to stream through their leaves. The more we teach our students and children how to find joy in nature, the more we teach them to value it - to be good stewards and do their part to take care of the land that takes care of us.


TMO4L Week

Cataline Elementary

Cataline staff and students made a conscious effort to take their learning outside for the week of Oct. 16-19, with all classes participating in outside exploration on Oct. 18 - Take Me Outside Day. From story-telling, reading and journaling, to sap collection, insect observations, and mandalas, students engaged in nature taking advantage of Cataline's vast forest and many outdoor learning areas. Cataline teachers and students will continue their commitment throughout the year, to take their learning outdoors.

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Columneetza Students visit T'exelc

Columneetza Jr. Secondary

Columneetza students went to T'exelc (Williams Lake First Nation) in October to learn about traditional medicines from David Archie and Danika Murphy.  Whitney Spearing also discussed the history of the land as well as the role archeology plays in learning about the land and the people.  


Tatlayoko Lake Bird Observatory

Tatla Elementary and Jr. Secondary

This annual field trip is always a highlight for Tatla Lake students and teachers and banders alike. We recognize the importance of using our local community and environment as a starting point to foster a sense of stewardship in our students. Staff at the TLBO state they "relish the opportunity to capture the rapt attention of the younger generations for an afternoon as they sow the seeds of delight that will in time grow until they are ready to shoulder the burden of speaking for and protecting the wild places on the planet and the creatures and plants that inhabit and depend upon them".


Invasive Species Knowledge

150 Mile

In addition to getting outdoors, 150 Mile brought outdoor information to the school! The BC Invasive Species trailer helped our students gain knowledge of invasive species in the area prior to outdoor walks. All students had a chance to visit this interactive trailer and ask expert questions. 


Grade 6/7 trip to Vancouver

Forest Grove

Our students engaged in learning outside of the school environment by heading to an urban centre: Vancouver. Our trip included visits to UBC, the Vancouver Aquarium, and Science World.


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