Outdoor Education

Take your learning beyond textbooks, lectures and classroom simulations.

During Outdoor Education you will be involved in new and dynamic experiences. Our hope is that you will gain an appreciation for outdoor living, travel and general recreation; regardless, we are certain you will gain lifelong skills in leadership, teamwork, resiliency and decision making.

The philosophy of Outdoor Experiential Education is apparent in its name: education via experience. Rather than learning through textbooks, lectures, or classroom simulations, experiential education aims to advance learning by directly involving students in new and dynamic opportunities. Experiential learning challenges students to make decisions and develop and apply their leadership skills. The goals for the West Island College Outdoor Education Program are that students will develop: an interest in outdoor living, travel and general recreation; the attitudes and knowledge required to participate in outdoor activities; and lifelong skills in leadership, teamwork, resiliency and decision making.

September is a busy month for outdoor education. All of our senior students are involved in at least one preparation day, followed by three days of experiential learning. The objectives of these trips are to build upon the foundational skills learned in the lower grades, to foster leadership and team building, and for students to enjoy being one with nature. In Grade 10, all students participate in a custom developed program at Camp Chief Hector that immerses students in a large variety of activities. Thereafter, in Grades 11 and 12, students are able to select from a wide variety of exciting adventures, which include: alpine hiking, scuba diving, canoeing, mountaineering, sailing, mountain biking, and day trips. In the late winter, the Grade 9s spend two nights and three days in Kananaskis Country learning how to cross country ski and developing an understanding of managing their winter environment. By the end of the trip, the students are all at least comfortable on the skis, and often have humorous tales of their adventures in the winter wilderness.

Later in the spring, the Grade 8 students are involved in a preparation day followed by two days in Kananaskis Country. Whilst in the mountains, they spend one day hiking and examining the environment, and one day rock climbing under the supervision of University of Calgary climbing guides. A favourite part of the trip for many is the overnight camping experience where their preparation and skills are put to the test. In June, Grade 7 students have the opportunity to enjoy a fun and challenging day trip to a local location.