Mill Bay Nature School


In September 2018, Mill Bay Elementary re-opened as a district program focused on nature.

Mill Bay Nature School

For thousands of years, the beautiful and varied land in the Cowichan Valley has been the “classroom” for learners of all ages. The new nature-based school at Mill Bay Elementary opened in September 2018 and builds on this rich history, providing children with frequent outdoor experiences through all subject areas that allow them to play, explore, and experience first-hand the natural world.

Nature-based learning allows children to be naturally curious and stimulates their sense of wonder and discovery. As we see in other popular nature-based programs, children will:

  • build resiliency and confidence.
  • learn from hands-on experiences.
  • benefit from the calming and inspiring effects of being in nature.
  • learn more about their strengths, interests, and challenges; and
  • develop confidence and ability to investigate and collaborate.

Our school will draw on the wealth of knowledge found right here in our community. Student learning will be rooted in the wisdom and experience of local naturalists, farmers, foresters, botanists, historians, and/or other local experts. All of the children will benefit from the knowledge of Indigenous Elders and Knowledge Keepers.

The nature school is a K-7 program. When running at full capacity, the school will be able to accommodate up to 200 students. The school is welcoming and inclusive of all learners.

The school will be aligned with the BC curriculum and informed by the First Peoples’ Principles of Learning.

“Nature is important to children’s development in every major way: intellectually, emotionally, socially, spiritually, and physically. Play in nature is especially important for developing capacities for creativity, problem-solving, and intellectual development.” – Kellert, 2005