Here are a few ways you can integrate on-the-land/water learning with the school system:
- Write curriculum - create your own course from scratch
- Link activities to existing curriculum happening in school during instructional time
- List your on-the-land/water program on student transcripts / report cards
- Partner with other organizations that have a process for awarding course credits in place already
Here is more information on each option:
1. Write curriculum - create your own course from scratch
If you feel like none of the courses that exist in current school curriculum match closely enough with what you wants students to learn through your on-the-land/water program, you can create a new course.
For youth to get credit for this course, in BC it needs to go through a Board/Authority Authorized (BAA) Course approval process. Depending on whether you are a band school or a public school, this would be submitted to your school board or FNESC. Through this process, you may be able to get your course accredited so that youth receive an elective credit that counts toward their high school graduation requirements.
In the Northwest Territories, you can create a Locally Developed Course (LDC) (see page 15-18 of this document for more info) with learning outcomes unique to what you are teaching through your on-the-land/water program. The Hunter Education course is an example of a LDC.
2. Link activities to existing curriculum happening in school during instructional time
There may be existing courses in your province or territory's curriculum that align with the learning outcomes of your on-the-land/water program. If this is the case, you may want to integrate your on-the-land/water program into students' existing classes (that they already get credit for) and timetable. You may be able to do this by connecting with classroom or subject-specific (e.g. Science) teachers.
Youth can participate in on-the-land/water programming as part of their Social Studies, Science, English Language Arts, Math, Art or other classes. Specialized Science is one course area in the BC curriculum with learning outcomes that might fit well with on-the-land/water programming.
If you choose this option as the On-the-Land/Water Program Coordinator, you might write a sentence or two on each student's report card comments for that subject area to communicate how they achieved the subject-specific outcomes through on-the-land/water learning that year.
Some schools also offer on-the-land/water programs centred around learning about culture and territory through the Physical and Health Education courses available to high school students (e.g. running the program through the Outdoor Education 12 course).
Students may be able to get Work Experience credits if they do job shadowing through the program.
Volunteer hours could be another options to recognize youth.
3. List your on-the-land/water program on student transcripts / report cards
Even if youth don't get extra credits for participation in on-the-land/water programming, their work and learning can still be recognized on report cards / transcripts - e.g. as an extra-curricular activity.
4. Partner with other organizations that have a process for awarding course credits in place already
There may be outdoor education organizations that already have processes in place for youth to gain school credits through participation in on-the-land/water programming.
Partnering with these organizations might help you award school credit to youth.
If you choose this route, it may be helpful to have a conversation with the organization before running your program around how students will be assessed and what type of reporting will be required for students to be awarded these credits. You likely will also want to clarify which credits students will receive and how many credits they will get.