The Environmental School Community believes in respect of the natural world, the environment, ourselves and others. Our community learns in a safe, caring, and supportive environment with acceptance of all learners, belief systems, sexual orientation, and gender identity. Our community includes both the human learners (students, parents, teachers, and invited educators) and more than human world (Earth, plants, animals).
To learn about how to function in an understanding community and to develop our code of conduct we have drawn from Indigenous wisdom. The Seven Sacred Teachings of Indigenous people teach us methods for pursuing a good path: Humility, Honesty, Respect, Courage, Wisdom, Truth, and Love. These guiding practices work within the Environmental School community’s established principles and values.
Principles and Values:
Place and Community
We cultivate learning in, about, with and from local places. This includes spending extensive time immersed in the outdoors, dialoguing with a diversity of people connected to these places, and exploring the meaning of places in the context of the broader community, its past and future. Our hope is to nurture and develop an inclusive educational community deeply rooted in place.
Nature, Ecology and Sustainability
We cultivate learning in natural settings, where we listen for what the more than human world has to teach us. Through the cycle of the seasons and the years, knowledge of ecosystems will be built gradually so that diversity, complexity and sustainability become part of our understanding of the world. How to live sustainability in this place is an ongoing question in everything we do.
Inquiry and Possibility
We cultivate a spirit of inquiry involving everyone – the natural world, students, parents, community members, teachers and researchers alike. We are committed to exploring multiple pathways of learning and teaching that engage many different ways of knowing and forms of knowledge. Meaningful, authentic, locally-inspired individual, group and community projects play an important part in this process.
Interdependence and Flourishing
We cultivate an appreciation of people both as unique individuals and as members of nested families, communities, and places. We seek to understand the complex ways in which we can help each other flourish, and how to build relationships and systems that contribute to such flourishing. We aim to foster respect, care, and health in everything we do.
Imagination and Integration
We cultivate imagination in teaching and learning, as a key to deeper understanding, creativity, and responsiveness to place and community. We look for ways to integrate learning across the curriculum, bridging language arts, sciences, histories, geographies, mathematics, physical and social skills. We develop educational practices and materials that nurture a sense of wholeness in learning and teaching.
(applicable to all human members of the Environmental School community, defined above)
- It is my responsibility to respect the Natural World (the more than human world).
- It is my responsibility to minimize my impact on our learning places.
- It is my responsibility to be kind and respectful to myself, other humans, animals, and the environment. To allow equal access for all people to services and facilities that are normally available to all.
- It is my responsibility to be safe, and treat others safely, physically and emotionally.
- It is my responsibility to follow the safety guidelines and boundaries set by the places that we learn in.
- It is my responsibility to listen to and follow the instructions and guidelines of staff and appointed people, learning community members.
- It is my responsibility to be informed and ask questions if I am unsure about instructions.
- It is my responsibility to be mindful of the physical and emotional wellbeing of others when engaging in play, including but not limited to rough play (wrestling), cooperative play, and imaginative play.
- It is my responsibility to handle tools safely. Tools may include but are not limited to natural materials, pocketknives, axes, saws, hammers, matches.
- It is my responsibility to safely and appropriately interact with digital technology. This includes but is not limited to the internet, chatting, phone calls, and texting. I will not publish or ask others to publish anything that discriminates against or causes discrimination of other people or groups of people.
- It is my responsibility to learn.
- It is my responsibility to wear appropriate clothing at all times. Appropriateness will vary depending on location and weather. My clothing must not intimidate others or represent or promote weapons, gang culture, alcohol or drugs. My clothing must also not promote violence, racism, sexism or discrimination of others.
- It is my responsibility to eliminate bodily wastes in designated places and situations.
We expect learners to become more responsible as they begin to understand and to develop. Expectations vary according to developmental age.
(applicable to all human members of the Environmental School Community, defined above)
- The Right to Exist = “I belong here. It is safe to be me.”
- The Right to Need = “Life nourishes me.”
- The Right to Have Support = “It is okay, and not shameful, to ask for help.”
- The Right to Freedom = “I have the right to be autonomous, to make my own decisions.”
- The Right to Love = “I can love with my whole being and be loved for my whole being.
(Grille, Robin. January 2014. Cultivating emotional intelligence in your child. Kindred Magazine. Retrieved from http://www.kindredcommunity.com/2014/01/cultivating-emotional-intelligence-in-your-child-the-five-rites-of-passage-part-three/)
Responses to actions and responsibility issues will be thoughtful, restorative and restitutive in nature, restoring relationships within the community. Every effort will be made to support learning, where learning is mediated through restorative justice processes. Decisions will be made with respect to the community, its learners and the individual. With continued issues and mediated interventions, progressive discipline will occur, which may include but not limited to: activity adjustment, suspension, intervention committee, change of school, or involvement of the police.