A meeting about outdoor schooling took place Friday morning, Feb. 9 at the Chase Secondary School. Emily Styles from School District 83 gave a keynote presentation on outdoor learning schools. (Rick Koch photo)

Parents enthusiastic about outdoor school plan for Chase

Meeting draws strong interest from Chase and Pritchard, some from Kamloops

The idea of an outdoor school in Chase is gathering momentum, judging by an initial meeting held last week.

About 50 parents gathered at Chase Secondary School Friday morning to hear more about the outdoor education proposal.

Chase parent Stephanie Stumph, who has been spearheading the idea, says she is pleased with the turnout and all the enthusiasm shown.

“The talk after the meeting, everyone was blown away by what she had to say,” Stumph said of the information presented by Emily Styles, a kindergarten teacher in the North Okanagan-Shuswap School District who has researched the topic extensively in preparation for an outdoor school being set up in Salmon Arm.

“I ran out of surveys; I haven’t gone through all of them, but over 70 were received this morning,” Stumph said after Friday’s meeting. “There’s lots of interest.”

During Styles’ presentation, a show of hands indicated much support for the plan, with most parents interested residing in either Chase or Pritchard, with a few from Kamloops.

Styles told the meeting there is now a worldwide movement to get kids outside. She said much research has been done, and she listed many benefits including aerobic exercise helping protect people from Alzheimer’s and dementia.

It’s been recommended that children five and under spend six hours outside every day, while six to 12 year olds spend three to four hours.

Related link: Looking to learn outdoors

She said, emotionally, kids outside are more self regulated. Breathing the fresh air makes it easier to think. Children are calmer, more engaged with learning. It helps creative and social behaviour, and also creates an ethic of care for the environment.

“Engagement goes up,” she said, as well as academic performance.

Thirteen per cent of kids have anxiety issues, she said, which is not a coincidence with them staying indoors more, with more screen time.

She said children can develop a sense of accomplishment outdoors, while they might not do so in a regular classroom.

And one other reason to have an outdoor school “might be to provide a world where we have a future,” she said.

Styles spoke of Guujaaw, a Haidi elder, who said change is necessary, as it doesn’t make sense to keep creating children to be part of the same system that’s created the problem.

School is not just a place to keep children busy, but to teach them to be good citizens.

Related link: Outdoor school to open in Salmon Arm

She also spoke of Jack Ma, co-founder of Alibaba Group, a multinational technology conglomerate, who said machines can do technical things, but people have heart and creativity.

“Not to pooh pooh academics; they’re a tool to help us move forward in our future. But everything we teach should be something a machine can’t do.”

Styles said she’s not saying an outdoor school is something to protect the environment.

“It’s for creating a new world where people can work together… Where we think about how we interact with our environment, where the environment doesn’t need protecting.”

Stumph says the next steps for Chase parents will involve putting together a presentation for the Kamloops-Thompson School District’s board meeting on April 9.

The focus will be to show there is enough interest and people committed to enrolling. She adds that Styles is a wealth of knowledge and Chase will be benefiting from the process just completed in School District 83.

Chase Primary, the proposed site for the program, would require a building assessment.


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter


A meeting about outdoor schooling took place Friday morning, Feb. 9 at the Chase Secondary School. Stephanie Stumph speaks to parents. (Image credit: Rick Koch photo)

Just Posted

In Photos: CP Rail Holiday Train lights up Sicamous

The stop on the train’s Canada-wide journey came with a $5,500 donation to local food bank.

Update: Collision cleared on Highway 97B south of Salmon Arm

The crash took place at the highway’s intersection with Deep Creek Road.

Chances Gaming Centre evacuated due to ‘security issue’

Patrons were evacuated at approximately 8:45 p.m.

Salmon Arm pharmacies continue to experience flu vaccine shortage

One pharmacy has privately sourced vaccine in stock, available for purchase

VIDEO: Success of wildlife corridors in Banff National Park has advocates wanting more

Demand for more highway protection escalated after seven elk were killed by a semi-trailer near Canmore

Column: Kid’s growing up fast on Old Town Road

In Plain View by Lachlan Labere

RCMP officer volunteers as designated driver

Princeton’s two largest employers ensure safe rides for Christmas parties

Pacioretty scores 2, Golden Knights top Canucks 6-3

Vegas goalie Fleury gets win No. 452

B.C. VIEWS: Hunger does not end with the season

Despite innovations in food distribution, the need is still there in B.C. communities

Kelowna RCMP officer suspended after allegedly sexting assault victim

RCMP confirm investigation but hold back details

Legendary primatologist coming to Okanagan

Dame Jane Goodall, founder of the Jane Goodall Institute, will present in Vernon Tuesday, March 24

Old Christmas card has ties to Summerland agriculture

Card was sent by former director of Summerland Research Station

Fans sing Canadian anthem after sound system breaks at BMW IBSF World Cup

The Canadians in attendance made sure their team and flag were honoured on the podium

Most Read