One of the founding principles of Coast Mountain Academy was to incorporate school-wide, mandatory outdoor education into our curriculums and innovative style of learning. This takes the form of our LEAD program, which stands for ‘Leadership Expeditions for Academic Discovery’. Situated in the beautiful community of Squamish and nestled between the ocean and mountains, there is truly no better place for our educators to teach outdoor experiential learning.
The objectives of our LEAD program are to:
- instill within our students a love for the natural world
- encourage personal growth, development, and confidence
- encourage stewardship of the environment
We feel strongly that the benefits derived from learning within nature and in group settings cannot be taught in classrooms – rather – it is an innate process of interaction, experience, and exploration over the years.
Our outdoor education program is an entirely accredited part of our curriculum, and incorporates subjects covered in other classes into a pragmatic, experiential learning environment immersed in the natural world. While on trips students have the opportunity to choose a project of their choice that relates to subject matter from other courses.
For instance, on a recent backpacking trip to Wedgemount Lake just outside of Whistler, students were given the choice of investigating the glacier through the perspectives of the sciences or the arts. Those that chose science were tasked with creating a mathematical model measuring how large the glacier was in terms of stored cubic metres of ice. Those that chose arts were tasked with photographing the glacier, and recording their learning experience of how they best learned to capture the ice through the medium of photography.
Students begin our LEAD program in Grade 7, continuing and growing through their outdoor pursuits until they graduate from CMA. There are overnight trips held each term, with the cumulative trip for all students held in June. Grades 7 to 10 begin with out-trips led throughout British Columbia, such as embarking on a backpacking trip to Garibaldi Lake. Grade 11 students venture further afield in Canada, such as canoeing a section of the Yukon River. Our Grade 12’s travel internationally for the cumulation of their LEAD program, and will be traveling to Ecuador this year participating in a Me to We service project.