Home Outdoor education Massey’s mothers plan to launch outdoor home education module

Massey’s mothers plan to launch outdoor home education module


A pair of mothers and wellness practitioners near Massey, Ontario. are working on the launch of Pinecone Academy, a home education center focused on outdoor education.

Their goal is to anchor their program in the Ontario home schooling curriculum, but to include more emphasis on nature immersion, life skills and personal well-being.

Stacie Minten launches the academy alongside Kendra Rogers. Minten says the COVID-19 pandemic has exposed many gaps in traditional education models, which has helped inspire this different approach.

“Parents are overloaded. Children are stressed, their mental health suffers and there has to be another way to meet this need. [Rogers] is actually on a very large 45 acre property right off Highway 17, so she said, “Well, what if we open a forest-based school? Minten said.

Rogers has a background in holistic healing practices and Minten specializes in Inamojo, a children’s wellness program.

Classes will take place outdoors all year round, and some learning will take place in a 26-foot heated yurt. The team is currently doing crowdfunding to cover this purchase.

The co-founders inaugurated the Rogers property on July 20.

The pandemic inspires alternative solutions

Minten says the shift to virtual learning during the COVID-19 pandemic has exposed many challenges with the existing education system. These include poor and expensive connectivity, increased stress and deterioration in student mental health, and a lack of nearby options for residents of outlying areas.

Through conversations in the community, Minten says she has heard from many parents who are unwilling to send their children back to school this fall.

This first year at Pinecone Academy will have room for 10 children between kindergarten and first year. Minten and Rogers have yet to officially invite parents to register, but one spot is already claimed, plus one for each of their own children.

They plan to run the program three days a week and expect costs to be around $ 40 a day.

A generalized voluntary effort

Rogers and Minten say they plan to run much of the education and wellness programs themselves, but they have a growing network of supporters who can offer their expertise.

“We bring in various teachers to teach, who do it on a completely volunteer basis, which is amazing how the community has come together and supports this,” Minten said.

Visiting professors will focus on essential concepts such as literacy, science and math. The co-founders also formed a partnership with a First Nations Elder who will provide traditional teachings to the children.

The Pinecone Academy board is nearing completion, says Minten, and includes many of the above volunteers.

The team intends to grow in the future

Minten says the plan for Pinecone Academy’s second year is to register it as a nonprofit, which will allow it to seek more funding and hopefully attract more educators.

“We’re looking to develop this from Kindergarten through Grade 8 because we have a lot of room for growth,” Minten said.

Home school pods have grown in popularity during the pandemic. Minten says the academy’s current setup will classify it as an independent school.

Children will learn gardening, help take care of the yurt itself, and learn about the ecosystems around them. To make sure the structure would be appropriate for a northern climate, Minten and Rogers visited a nearby farm whose owner uses a yurt similar to his home.

It doesn’t sound like much yet, but the property of co-founder Kendra Rogers will soon be home to Pinecone Academy. (Submitted by Kendra Rogers)

Education scholar says outdoor learning is beneficial

Carlo Ricci, an education professor at Nipissing University, says there are “gentler, more loving” ways to educate children, as opposed to the publicly funded education system. (Submitted by Carlo Ricci)

Carlo Ricci, a graduate professor at the Schulich School of Education at Nipissing University, says outdoor education provides excellent sensory experiences and can enrich a young person’s learning compared to an institutional setting.

“Home schooling is… a recognition that learning takes place everywhere, all the time. And so, there are all kinds of ways that are less stressful, gentler, more confident, respectful, caring and compassionate,” explains Ricci.

His studies have often focused on alternative forms of learning such as home schooling. He says moving away from institutional settings gives instructors more flexibility to tailor learning to a student’s needs, while using the curriculum as a guide for the topics to be covered.

“If we are interested in democracy and want people to really get in touch with who they are and what their interests and passions are, it makes perfect sense that we give them freedom, choice and freedom. autonomy, ”he says.

Ricci says an outside executive is also talking about policies regarding physical distancing that emerged during the COVID-19 pandemic.