The B Side / VIATEC – Just over a year ago we wrote about the Pacific School of Innovation & Inquiry (PSII), an innovative high school where students are empowered to create their own learning path, with a focus on individuality and creativity.
This shift in education seems to be trending in Victoria, and it may have started with the Elizabeth Buckley Elementary School 3 years ago, or even 29 years ago if you count when it was a deaf and hard of hearing school (located in The Cridge Centre for the Family on Hillside). Well, due to popularity, Elizabeth Buckley is expanding to a middle school this fall, sharing space in Nootka Court downtown with PSII, and will be the first STEAM middle school in Canada.
As a STEAM school (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, Math), their curriculum is experiential, hands-on and incorporates technology in the classroom. The teachers also connect their students with expert mentors from the community to provide authentic experiences. It’s all designed to foster critical thinking skills, global citizenship, and literacy in the STEAM subjects.
“At Elizabeth Buckley School we foster a culture of respect, and each learner is supported on their own unique educational path” commented Roberta MacDonald, Principal. “Our program nurtures students to be adaptable, independent thinkers, able to work effectively with others, and imbued with a life-long curiosity and love of learning.”
They are a “Group 1 Independent School” that follows BC Ministry of Education guidelines and their programs meet, and often exceed, the curriculum outcomes of the BC Curriculum. Most of the learning activities are hands-on and they like to get out of the classroom and into nature from time to time.
“We want it to be really applied, so when kids learn things out of a book they don’t necessarily realize how that applies to daily life,” commented Principal MacDonald. “If you can give them engagement and experiences where they’re doing hands-on and exploring, they’re creating their own understanding out of things. it’s much more memorable and meaningful for them.”
The staff, families and students are pleased to be partnering with the Pacific School of Innovation and Inquiry to open the middle school in a shared learning space this September.
“Jeff Hopkins, PSII’s founder and principal educator, is a visionary who is working to make meaningful changes in education,” commented Principal MacDonald. “PSII’s philosophy and approach are a good match with what we do at Elizabeth Buckley School, and the opportunity to join forces to offer innovative and high-quality education opportunities to the community is exciting.”
To learn more or to register your children, please visit http://www.steamschool.ca/middle-school.