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outside45 is a West Vancouver Schools Academy based on Bowen Island. It is an environmental education program for Grade 6 and 7 students that blends learning in the classroom with frequent experiences in natural and built environments on and off the island.


The application deadline for outside45 2016-2017 has now closed. Families who are intersted in applying for ​outside45 2017-2018 should review this website for application information beginning in January 2017.

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Photos: Jeff Morales

Program Highlights

outside45 is a place-based program designed for students to learn about themselves, their classmates, their communities and the natural world they contribute to and rely upon. The program includes frequent single-day and multi-day field experiences on Bowen Island and the South Coast of BC. The field experiences are designed to complement the learning outcomes embedded in the units of inquiry which are anchored in the Social Studies and Science curricula.

Program Goals

Throughout the program, students will:

  • Demonstrate a deep understanding of the overarching and topical enduring understandings embedded in the prescribed curriculum through an inquiry-based approach;
  • Be an engaged learner, including active involvement in goal setting and assessment, gaining more awareness of their interests and abilities;
  • Develop and apply critical thinking skills based on the sixteen Habits of Mind that allow students to think independently and challenge assumptions;
  • Acquire outdoor skills that build leadership and social responsibility and increase awareness of travel opportunities within BC;
  • Have a greater understanding of who they are, both as a learner and community member, and acquire more awareness of their place in their local community (Bowen Island) and the larger communities they are a part of Develop an ethic of care for themselves, their human relations, and the more than human world that guides their decision making;
  • Live a one earth lifestyle within the program whenever possible.
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Assessment & Evaluation

Students will be involved in five units of inquiry. At the end of each unit of inquiry, students will present their progress to their teachers and parents. This process, similar to a student led conference, will create an opportunity to celebrate the learning that has occurred and set a course for future learning goals.


The program is designed for students aged 10-13 who will be entering Grades 6 or 7. Like other combined classrooms, the program will focus on certain curricula for the first year and different curricula the next so that students could participate for two years.

Safety during field experiences is paramount. Students who are unable to demonstrate the ability to participate safely will not be admitted to the program. Parents of students interested in the program must show a willingness to be flexible regarding scheduling and have an interest in participating in some day and field experiences.

Program Fees

Program fees are used to pay for field experiences including site rentals, gear rentals, instructor fees for non-Board employees (such as mountain and kayak guides) and program equipment. Fees will also cover some transportation costs; however, parent volunteer drivers will be required for most of the field experiences on the island and many experiences off the island. Fees do not cover students’ food while on field experiences.

Program fees are $1400 per year. Families are expected to commit for one year.

Students are responsible for providing their own personal gear. We provide a list of required gear but encourage parents to borrow or purchase the gear they believe will be suitable.

Learn More

​Click here to see the 2015 parent presentation.
Click here to see Scott Slater’s TEDxWestVancouverEd talk on outside45.
Click here to see the 2012 presentation to the BICS PAC and West Vancouver Board of Education.