WHA is in the process of becoming a part of Canada’s EcoSchool Program.

EcoSchools Canada offers a certification program for K-12 schools that nurtures environmental learning and climate action. 

WHA really is special with incredible students who have risen to the new challenges and opportunities presented to them in this new context.

– Dr. Katie Kish, WHA Science Teacher

EcoSchool Curriculum 

We believe that our littlest scientists have the power to change the future. Our EcoSchool Curriculum ensures that kids are spending at least one science class per week with their hands and feet in the dirt. Their second science class is devoted to theory and developing a strong grounding in the fundamental sciences – biology, chemistry, and physics.

Our science program focuses heavily on agriculture, nature, climate science, food, and energy. Students will grow their own food, cook one meal per week for their classmates, develop science communication skills, and contribute positively to their community. This program is rigorous and enhances a child’s resilience by not only giving them hands-on experience with science, but also improving self-regulation and self-esteem.

 

The foundation for this curriculum is that every student should begin their day experiencing and learning about the world around them. The overarching approaches to this curriculum are to:

  1. Spark engagement: Model enthusiasm for nature play and act as a creative spark for children to encourage new ideas and hands-on learning. Lessons should expand creative, imagination, and exploratory learning.
  2. Observation: Educators provide children with an environment and tools for exploration and then step back to give children space to learn. Educators then observe and enhance future outdoor learning based on interests.
  3. Learning for Everyone: Educators will also get dirty, explore, build, create, and learn.
  4. Creating Connections: Children will redevelop a connection with natural spaces, Earth cycles, and animals. Children will also engage with the community at large.

EcoSchools Emphasize Learning Beyond the Classroom

Leadership, 
Responsibility, and Citizenship

The small size of our school offers students many opportunities to develop leadership and citizenship skills – through formal opportunities like student council and in classroom work and discussions. Students are encouraged to suggest projects and activities for the school. And the active mixing of different age groups allows our older students to develop as mentors. Activities such as hosting annual Remembrance Day ceremonies at Marymount Cemetery, volunteering at Hopewell House, and conducting living history interviews with seniors strengthen our students’ sense of community and social responsibility.

The Environment and the Outdoors
We want our students to understand and value our natural environment, to recognize the role and importance of agriculture, and to learn to enjoy time in nature. We spend nearly double the mandated time in outdoor recess, have outdoor physical education in all seasons, and frequently partake in activities such as gardening, outdoor science classes, hikes, cross-country running, and Earth Day clean-ups. Field trips to Mansfield Outdoor Centre, Guelph Outdoor School, and the Guelph Lake Nature Centre reinforce these values.