A non-profit nature-based elementary school is set to open in Nanaimo this fall.
Nanaimo Innovation Academy announced Tuesday that will be opening a nature-based independent K-3 elementary school at 905 Hecate St., this coming September and is accepting applications for students.
The new school will have classes of 16 students each — one K/1 class and one Grade 1/2/3 class — but will expand by another grade each year. Students will also spend a large amount of time exploring surrounding forests, beaches and other ecosystems throughout the community.
Keely Freeman, founder and executive director of Nanaimo Innovation Academy, says the school offers smaller-sized classrooms and provides hands-on learning, with at least half the day spent outdoors exploring the local ecosystems with a certified Forest Educator and BC Certified Teacher.
“Our school is designed for children to get muddy and play outside in nature every day, where teachers love to learn alongside their students, and where the education is inspired by a child’s interests and passions,” Freeman said.
According to a press release, the Nanaimo Innovation Academy received approval to open such a school from the Ministry of Education back in April.
“Nanaimo Innovation Academy plays an important role in providing quality child care services in the Nanaimo area and are continually building on the services and supports they provide to families in our community,” said Doug Routley, MLA for Nanaimo-North Cowichan.
There are four other independent schools in Nanaimo, three of which provide elementary school programming.