Outdoor Education Centres

The Kawartha Pine Ridge District School Board operates four outdoor education centres: Warsaw in Peterborough County, Goodrich Loomis near Brighton, Wilmot Creek near Orono and the Laurie Lawson near Cobourg.

The Board has taken a leadership role in promoting environmental education, environmental safety and a positive environmental ethic. At these outdoor education centres, KPR students learn environmental stewardship and obtain hands-on experience in environmental studies. Teachers complete bookings in late spring for the upcoming school year.

Board of Education contact: Kerry Zinkiewich, Instructional Leadership Consultant, 705-742-9773, Extension 2199 

Program Outline

The Outdoor Education program provides students and teachers with the opportunity for outdoor experiences that will enrich the existing curriculum and develop a positive environmental ethic. Each of the four day-use Outdoor Education Centres within the Kawartha Pine Ridge District School Board is staffed by a qualified naturalist who, in co-operation with the teacher, encourages hands-on exploration and discovery.

All of the activities outlined in this guide are directly related to the expectations identified in the Ontario Curriculum documents. Suggestions for new programs or revisions to existing ones are always welcome. The naturalists will also tailor the program to meet the specific needs of individual classes, however, they do require advance notice for anything but minor changes.

A visit to the outdoor education centre is also the perfect opportunity to reinforce/introduce many of the Character Education attributes. Links to the Character Education attributes have been provided in the activities charts.

Registration

Teachers are asked to indicate the location that they wish to visit, the activities or program they wish to participate in, as well as a preferred and alternate month. A list of confirmed dates is then forwarded to schools in mid June. Schools who have not booked visits as of the beginning of the school year may contact the appropriate naturalist for available dates. Two to four weeks before a scheduled visit, the teacher will be contacted by the naturalist to confirm the date and specific program arrangements.

Most of the programs listed are of half-day duration. A teacher planning to come for the full day would choose two half-day programs. Many kindergarten students have had positive half-day experiences at the Outdoor Education Centres. Junior kindergarten-aged students do find even the half day to be tiring. Teachers are advised to take this into consideration. Half-day programs can also be sufficient for grade one classes. Schools may wish to have their grade one students attend for only half of the school day, thereby doubling the number of students who will have an outdoor education experience in a given day. Teachers who wish to visit the outdoor education centres must make arrangements for visits in May for the following school year. Instructions and deadlines for scheduling are provided to principals in the spring of each year.

Cancellations

While every attempt is made to avoid them, cancellations due to weather conditions (e.g. freezing rain, extreme cold), safety (e.g. icy trails, high winds), or illness may occur. In order to ensure the timely communication of a cancellation, schools are encouraged to provide an after-hours contact name and phone number. This would allow the naturalist to contact an individual early enough for bus drivers and volunteers to be informed of the change in plans. When a cancellation is made the naturalist will attempt to reschedule the class visit, however, this is not always possible because the Centres are usually fully booked. For this reason, last minute cancellations by the school should be avoided. If a cancellation is necessary , please make every attempt to give the naturalist four to five days notice. This will allow him or her to invite a class on the waiting list to use the centre. Internal switching of classes by the teachers or principal frequently resolve conflicts that develop. Please inform the naturalist of the change.