Outdoor Education Program

At Killdevil Camp and Conference Centre

Welcome to the

Outdoor Education Program at Killdevil Camp

The Outdoor Education Program Website is designed to communicate with students, parents and staff to gain a holistic understanding of the Outdoor Education Program at Killdevil Camp and Conference Centre offered within the Western Region of the Newfoundland and Labrador English School District.

Participating students have an opportunity to focus on specific curriculum outcomes within a variety of subject areas.

Previsit Video

Background Information

In 1997, the former Western School District, in partnership with Parks Canada, created a district-wide residential outdoor education program that would be unique in Canada. Since its inception, more than 11,000 grade students, 2000 parent chaperones and 400 teachers have travelled to Killdevil Camp in Gros Morne National Park to participate in this 2.5 day residential outdoor education experience. Qalipu First Nations then joined the partnership in 2014.

Most every student in the region has the opportunity to participate in the program, with about 500 students participating each spring and fall. Students usually participate when they are in grade five, though some students in multi grade classes will attend in grade 4 or grade 6. Students participate in a variety of sensory awareness, environmental, and challenge cross curricular activities. While the formal curriculum is important, so too is the rest of the experience; students from smaller communities are placed with a larger group of students their own age, students from urban areas experience nature and wildlife, first walk under a forest canopy for students for areas with barrens, a first night away from home, first school bus trip, new friends. Teachers continually comment that students who struggle to fit into traditional schooling thrive in this setting.

Currently, the Newfoundland and Labrador English School District’s Residential Outdoor Education program is unique for a number of reasons. The cross-curricular learning sessions are heavily linked to particular items in the grade 5 curriculum; for example, students do a weather measurement learning activity that fulfills some of the outcomes of the weather science unit. While many outdoor centre programs have curriculum links in their activities, our sessions are designed has a hands-on, nature-centered activity that deliver the curriculum.

The breadth of the program is unique, as most every student in the Western Region of the Newfoundland and Labrador English School District has an opportunity to participate. Except for a very few similar programs, most school outdoor education opportunities in Canada are accessed by expression of interest. Teachers and schools who are particularly interested seeking out an outdoor education experience for their students put the work into planning and often fundraising for a trip. By contrast, in Western Region of the Newfoundland and Labrador English School District, most of the logistics of the trip including bussing and scheduling are taken care of by district staff and by the outdoor education coordinator.

The partnership between the Western Region of the Newfoundland and Labrador English School District, Qalipu First Nations and Parks Canada is the first of its kind in Canada. Aside from being part of long term planning and vision for the program, our partners staff participate as facilitators within the program. Gros Morne National Park was the first national park in Canada to provide a residential outdoor education program within its boundaries. Through the success of this model, it is now being replicated by other school districts and national parks across the country.

This program is also unique in that, visiting teachers do much of the teaching during their class visits. To prepare for this program, every new teacher to the program will participate in a two-day professional learning session whereby they learn to teach students outdoors and deliver specific learning sessions pertaining to the specific curriculum outcomes. All participating teachers have an opportunity to lead activities such as Path to Verse, Micro Climates, Archaeological Dig, Initiatives, journal writing, and estuary study. By teaching within the program, teachers are able to observe their students in contexts far different from the regular classroom and are able to follow-up on what is taught here once they get back in the classroom. As well, teachers who are comfortable teaching their students in an outdoor environment, have tools which can be used to teach their students in outdoor environments closer to their schools.

Killdevil Camp and Conference Centre Details

The Newfoundland and Labrador English School District has partnered with Killdevil Camp and Conference Centre to provide the facilities needed to deliver the NLESD Western Outdoor Education Program.

Killdevil Camp and Conference Centre is not-for-profit facility, and is operated by the Anglican Diocese of Western Newfoundland. It is situated on 42 acres of what was once farmland and lies a five minute walk from the former town of Lomond. Lomond is now a Parks Canada Campground (some say it is the most scenic of all the campgrounds in the Park!).

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Killdevil Camp and Conference Centre Location: