Curriculum Planning

For us, the key component in designing our curriculum content was determined by the desired experiential outcome of our integrated fields of study. To prepare our students to lead the Earthkeepers program for instance, we had to provide them with a solid understanding of the core principles of basic ecology, ie. energy flow, interrelationships, change and the water cycle. We also spent considerable time surveying the major environmental issues and working on our individual and collective environmental behaviours. The students also needed to develop leadership skills, which we did through group dynamics theory and activities, along with community task experiences. Of course there was extensive hands on training to help prepare them to teach their assigned Earthkeepers activity to the younger students. They also had to maintain the props and equipment for the activities, which were important for enhancing the magic of the program.

For the wilderness trips, along with a daily fitness program, students learned how to plan for the trip, as well as apply simple first aid and navigation skills, camp craft and later on canoeing. The group dynamics was important here as well, since they had to work together in small groups in the planning and undertaking of the trips.

Scheduling had to be organized ahead of time and usually we planned for the week although always having to be prepared for events coming up. We would typically know what was coming down the road so would apportion our content over a number of weeks then plug it into the daily schedule along with our regular daily duties like cooking.

Here is a sample of planning for a week, where we knew that we had both Earthkeepers programs scheduled, as well as our wilderness trip.