The first Wild School was developed in the Blue Mountains near Collingwood, Ontario in 2019 by founder and former Yukon resident Jeff Barrett. It was built by a group of passionate parents and educators who wanted to create a different model for education - something exceptional that would truly engage and inspire students. They did this by providing opportunities to immerse students in experiences that evoke curiosity and create a passion for learning and discovery. They set out to create a program for students of all backgrounds that would foster a life-long love of learning and the natural world, while also developing the skills and knowledge to thrive in the outdoors. Wild School believes that the greatest lessons are found in our natural classroom.
What is a Wild School?
WILD stands for Wilderness Integrated Leadership Development. This is a philosophy born out of a core belief that the greatest learning is found in real-life experiences. Wild Schools value a model of education that focuses on each student as an individual. We encourage a 're-wilding' of students' thinking by creating experiences and learning opportunities that ignite curiosity and passion for learning while developing confidence, resilience and the courage to try new things.
Our core program is supported by four pillars which provide us with the framework for a school where traditional curriculum meets an enriched learning environment. We call these pillars OE4: Ecological Education, Outdoor Education, Leadership Education, and Service Education. We integrate these streams with the basic core subject matter found in the B.C./Yukon Curriculum to create a holistic educational experience. Yukon Wild School students will be immersed in a forest setting for a significant amount of their instructional time, and Yukon First Nations Ways of Knowing, Doing, and Being will be honoured throughout our land-based instruction. We maintain a very high standard in all subject areas including literacy and numeracy as we strive to develop the whole child. Yukon Wild School aims to reconnect our future leaders with the natural world and with themselves.
The Wild School experience enables participants to step away from their everyday environment, immersing them in exciting outdoor adventures where they will draw on their individual strengths and learn to work as a team to achieve their goals.Exposing students to a variety of dynamic learning experiences is fundamental to the Wild School model. In addition to wilderness skills and leadership development, students will also have opportunities to explore the arts, languages, woodworking, cooking, gardening and community service. The goal is to equip students with the ability to reconnect with themselves, with others and with nature. In a supportive environment, young people can transform their attitudes, behaviours and beliefs, coming away with a renewed sense of their own self-worth and potential.
We acknowledge that we are learning and working on the beautiful Traditional Territory of the Ta'an Kwäch'än Council and the Kwanlin Dün First Nation and are grateful for this opportunity.
In addition to the outdoor facilities, Vista also boasts a stunning main building that includes full bathroom facilities, and lots of open space for group activities. Yukon Wild School is very grateful to Vista Outdoor Learning Centre for hosting our school!
Vista Outdoor Learning Centre is located off the North Klondike Highway on Vista Road, approximately 25 minutes from downtown Whitehorse.
How is Yukon Wild School funded?
Yukon Wild School is part of Canadian Wild Schools, a registered federal not-for-profit corporation. As a not-for-profit organization, any profit made by Yukon Wild Schools is not for the personal gain of its directors, members or officers, but goes back into the organization to further its aims and projects. As an independent school, Yukon Wild School does not receive any funding from the Yukon Department of Education. All of the profit earned through the Wild Camp and Leader In Training summer programs is used to fund Yukon Wild School's operational expenses. We also rely on grants and community sponsorships to help support our camps and school programming.
Yukon Wild School would like to give a warm shout out to the following local businesses for their generous donations and/or stellar service:
Mallory's Postering Service