6 Special School Programs Delivering More than the Basics

These programs are inspiring a new generation of students (and are also really, really cool)

Photography by Forest Service Northern Region via Flickr (cc)

Photography by Forest Service Northern Region via Flickr (cc)

Reading, writing and ’rithmetic may have worked for Laura Ingalls Wilder, but in 2013, some cool schools deliver far more than the basics. Here are a few of our favourites:

1. Bilingual Schooling
There’s French Immersion all across our fine country, but the Winnipeg School Division takes language education to a whole new level with both Ukrainian and Hebrew bilingual schooling in elementary, plus classes in Tagalog, Cree and other heritage languages in middle and high school.

2. Single-Gender Education
Single-gender education isn’t just for private school anymore. In Calgary’s All Boys Program, for example, elementary schoolboys learn with laptops, have plenty of male role models and spend lots of time on physical activity. It gets girl-centric in Edmonton’s Nellie McClung Girls’ Junior High Program (available at three schools) where students engage with the community, learn about healthy living and study women’s history. In Toronto, fourth- to sixth-graders at the Boys’ Leadership Academy and the Girls’ Leadership Academy are also thriving in single-gender classrooms.

3. Curling Academy
Ice sports are quintessentially Canadian, and at Esquimalt High School’s Curling Academy in Victoria, students have the opportunity to hone their sweeping, in-turns and peels with five 70-minute periods devoted to the sport each week.

4. C.H.A.O.S. Program
Up north, high school gets crazy cool with Yukon’s C.H.A.O.S. program (which stands for Community, Heritage, Adventure, Outdoors and Skills). From reading First Nations literature to exploring the stunning northern landscape by snowshoe and canoe, the program allows Grade 9 and 10 students at Wood Street Centre school in Whitehorse to engage and connect with their history and environment.

5. Earthkeepers
Students are going green with the Earthkeepers program at Aden Bowman Collegiate in Saskatoon. For a semester, Grade 10 students explore sustainable living, and their classroom learning is enhanced by real-world projects. Earthkeepers run their own farmers’ markets, maintain a community garden and greenhouse, and design low-energy homes.

6. Start2Finish
Aimed at curbing both illiteracy and obesity, non-profit Start2Finish hosts Running
& Reading Clubs at inner-city schools from Halifax to Vancouver. Volunteers spend two hours with elementary school students every week, practising reading, going for runs and sharing healthy snacks.

Learn more on the latest issues and trends in the classroom:

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