The Outdoor Learning Centre (OLC) is an innovative “classroom without walls”. The OLC was the vision of teachers at the Bowen Island Community School (BICS) and was completed in 2011 with the support of The Rotary Club of Bowen Island (RCBI).
The teachers and parents of BICS had raised funds from a number of sources – Staff International Student Funds, Volunteer Incentive Program, the BICS students Tuck Shop, the Parent Advisory Council, and the Community School Association. The RCBI raised funds from Operation Red Nose 2010, funds that are directed at support of youth in Canadian communities. Together with BICS, The RCBI applied to Rotary District 5040 for a District Grant, which matched our funds at $0.50 for each $1.00 raised. Our successful District Grant application enabled purchase of the materials to complete the OLC.
The OLC is a 6 m x 10 m outdoor classroom constructed of a steel superstructure mounted on a concrete slab. It is placed on a small level field, nestled amongst the trees close to BICS. The site connects to the Crippen Park trails, as well as being easily accessible to the BICS parking lot. The OLC has strengthened and expanded the teaching of the environmental curriculum at BICS, providing a sheltered outdoor learning environment in close proximity to nature. Over 300 BICS students from K to Grade 7 benefit by working on projects and learning about nature, sustainability, and the environment. It is also a site for guests of the school to use to participate in the BICS Salmon Quest and Watershed Quest programs.
The OLC is also available to the broader community to be used for functions such as receptions, recitals, concerts, and meetings.