Frequently Asked Questions

A Few Frequently Asked Questions

The following are common questions asked when first coming to know the Maple Ridge environmental school project. Links are provided where further information is available.

Like other evolving systems (i.e. rivers, mountains, communities), this project is dynamic.  As a result, questions change over time. This page was crafted in January, 2011.

  1. When did the project start?
  2. On what ideas is the school based?
  3. Who is involved?
  4. Whom does the school serve?
  5. Where will learning and teaching take place?
  6. Will the school follow the BC curriculum?
  7. Who are the teachers?
  8. How will students get from place to place?
  9. How will students’ comfort and safety be assured?
  10. Will special needs students be fully integrated with adequate support?
  11. What are our hopes?
  12. How will decisions be made within the school?
1. When did the project start?
Since August 2008, many people and places have been working to bring together the community of Maple Ridge to establish a K-7 public school and community learning centre. The Board of Trustees approved the project in November 2010, for a planned opening in September 2011. For more information, see Registration(begins Jan. 31, 2011).[ Back to top ]
2. On what ideas is the school based?
The theory and practice of the project is supported by Place-Based, Imaginative and Ecological Education. Learning and teaching will be experiential, in context, and through activities that engage the mind, body, and heart. The project is based in principles of inquiry and inclusion. Teaching and learning will involve reconnecting the natural and human worlds. For more information, see Guiding Principlesand Educational Strands (page being developed).[ Back to top ]
3. Who is involved?
The project is a partnership between several community groups, School District 42 Maple Ridge & Pitt Meadows, and Simon Fraser University. The university-based research is funded through an environmental Community-University Research Alliance grant (eCURA) from the Social Science and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC). For more information, see Partners and Collaborators.[ Back to top ]
4. Whom does the school serve?
Students within BC are eligible, with priority given to local residents. Classes are multi-age and K-7. The intent is to encourage and support intergenerational learning that connects children and adults with the place of Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows in many different ways, helping the natural environment and the human community alike to flourish. For more information, see “Is the eco-school right for you?”[ Back to top ]
5. Where will learning and teaching take place?
Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows will be primary locations. Students and teachers will work with community partners to build extended and meaningful learning experiences in many kinds of places: parks, non-profit centres, school grounds and buildings, gardens and farms, restaurants, and government offices.[ Back to top ]
6. Will the school follow the BC curriculum?
Yes, as a public school it will meet all the requirements of the School Act. However, concepts and subject areas will be embedded in themes, projects and activities stretching across the curriculum. For more information, see Educational Strands (page being developed).[ Back to top ]
7. Who are the teachers?
Many kinds of teachers are involved with the school. They include students, professional teachers from School District 42, community educators, elders, family members, the more-than-human world of Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows (i.e. plants, animals, rivers, wetlands, forests, and mountains) and the human-centered places (i.e. farms, businesses, public institutions, public streets and squares, artists’ studios).[ Back to top ]
8. How will students get from place to place?
Multiple forms of transport will be used by the school. The parent community will be asked to help with carpooling. Other possibilities will be explored and developed over time.[ Back to top ]
9. How will students’ comfort and safety be assured?
For all participants, there will be ongoing training in first aid, risk assessment, emergency preparedness, and planning for outdoor experiences. Participants will be exposed, with preparation and support, to a variety of weather conditions and physical challenges. For more information, see “Is the eco-school right for you?”[ Back to top ]
10.Will special needs students be fully integrated with adequate support?
The school is covered by the same policies and guidelines with respect to inclusion as other district schools. The goal is to build a learning community in which all kinds of students can flourish, as long as they are able to take part in place-based learning in outdoor and community settings.[ Back to top ]
11. What are our hopes?
While continuing to teach the knowledge and skills expected of BC school graduates, the school and community learning centre emphasizes values of service, responsibility, intrinsic motivation, and resilience. Our hope is to develop students’ imaginations and resourcefulness.
12. How will decisions be made within the school?
The school will be governed by a council of hearth keepers, which involves students, teachers, parents and family members, community educators, and SFU researchers. Decision-making will be informed by the guiding principles of the school: Place and Community, Nature, Ecology and Sustainability, Inquiry and Possibility, Interdependence and Flourishing, Imagination and Integration.[ Back to top ]If you would like to keep in touch with the progress of the school, please sign up for our newsletter on the home page.