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Day 33: Jim Hope, Vice Principal (Ladner Elementary)

October 24, 2012

A teacher colleague recently commented that she felt pressure to teach differently in order to meet the goals set out in Our Bold Vision. I thought for a second, and then mentioned that she runs a program every year that captures the very essence of the vision.

The teacher is Meriel Abrahamson, or Mrs. Abe as she is known to most, and the program is the Evans Lake outdoor education program. Mrs. Abe is extremely passionate about outdoor education and environmental stewardship and this passion is passed on the grade 7 students at Ladner Elementary.

I was fortunate to spend 2 of the five days with the group at the Evans Lake camp. What I saw was a teacher providing engaging, enriching learning activities as kids moved through the forest studying plant life, looking at animal trails, and learning how they can preserve the environment. I also saw kids learning a lot about themselves. I saw relationships formed and strengthened, not only between students, but also with staff and students as well.

I had the opportunity to bond with the students one chilly morning as we did the 7 am polar bear swim in the lake in October. At night, the singing and acting around the campfire showed off multiple talents and let kids come out of their shells. Students creatively turned metal coffee cans into lanterns shaped like a variety of creatures that would light the path in the dark while providing something to talk about.

I saw the kids take on leadership roles in their cabin groups by monitoring attendance, looking after buddies, and doing chores that included clearing dishes and cleaning bathrooms. Another task students had was to journal their experiences. I saw kids, who occasionally have trouble writing in the classroom, spewing their ideas, thoughts and feelings onto the page as they were inspired by their experiences.

This all happened because of the dedication and collaboration of teachers, parent volunteers, and community volunteers who came together to give the students an opportunity to partake in an engaging educational experience that allowed everyone to showcase their talents, become part of a larger group, and demonstrate leadership skills.

This brief description highlights one of the many comprehensive, valuable educational experiences teachers are, and have been, providing to meet the needs of our students in Delta.

Jim Hope is a vice-principal at Ladner Elementary School.

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. October 26, 2012 1:49 am

    You’re a talented writer, Jim. What a great story on such an inspiring teacher and on the wonders of taking kids to the outside classroom. Thank you

  2. Dianne Turner permalink
    October 26, 2012 7:23 am

    Jim this is a great story of very dedicated teachers and parent volunteers who have created an experience that will make a lasting and very positive impact on your students. Thank you for sharing this joyful and engaging experience at Evans Lake….and reminding us how incredibly important the outdoor learning experience can be for a school community.

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