Developing engaged citizens of the world requires a classroom as big and complex as the world. During the years of growing independence, our Senior School students are encouraged to take on more and more challenges and opportunities beyond the classroom.
The Senior School structures its programmes so that students must step beyond the four walls of the classroom, but it also gives the individual student a wide range of choice in shaping their out-of-the-classroom experiences. In this way, students not only discover what the world is all about but are able to find their unique place within it.
And as these pages attest, our students can find themselves just about anywhere - on a kayak in Squamish, B.C., in a debating tournament in Hong Kong, at a Model United Nations event in Budapest, in a school for impoverished children in southern India, or leading an assembly in our very own York School Coliseum.
The outdoor environment is an extension of our classroom where students explore the natural world and our place in it. Through outdoor education, students gain a heightened awareness, appreciation and connection with the natural spaces we are part of.
Our programmes are designed to build community, enrich curricular content and help build interpersonal skills. The IB Learner Profile attributes of risk-taking, reflection, communication and balance are all enhanced and reinforced through our outdoor and experiential education programmes.
Activities can include swimming, paddling, hiking, ecological studies, building fires, writing poetry, and snowshoeing. Whether students are winter camping for the first time, playing a group-wide game or cooking a meal outside, these experiences are an exceptional way to develop resilience and are an essential part of instilling The York School's core values.
In May, all Grades 9 and 10 students choose from a list of ‘challenges’ that take them out of the classroom and across North America on five or six-day excursions. Challenges give students an experiential foundation for the curriculum they are following in the classroom. While Grade 9 trips focus on getting to know the history, geography and culture of a specific region in Canada, Grade 10 trips highlight one or more specific school subjects, allowing students to deepen their appreciation of a favourite subject area.
Grade 9 and 10 challenges have included:
- Historic adventures through music around St. John’s, Newfoundland
- Learning the art of cooking in Montreal
- Whitewater canoeing in Northern Ontario
- Being trained to produce a short film in the Canadian Prairies
- Joining a Habitat for Humanity project in the region affected by Hurricane Katrina
- Hiking, canoeing and painting in the wilderness of Killarney Park
- And more!