We often hear it lamented that children are getting less and less exercise, and more and more screen time. The results are an overall more sedentary lifestyle for many, and the loss of passions and hobbies focused on being active and getting outside into nature.
Addressing this challenge and allowing students to learn to enjoy the great outdoors is Urban Academy, a private JK- Grade 12 school located in the Lower Mainland. With a new 50,000-square-foot campus, students have ample space to learn, grow and explore in their 20,000 square feet of rooftop play spaces. Students are encouraged to incorporate activity into their daily lives, and are introduced to all kinds of new opportunities for athletics and outdoor education.
The new campus features a 4,000-plus square foot full-sized gymnasium to accommodate any physical activity, intramural competitions, tournaments assembly or other multi-purpose needs. The school supports a diverse range of sports for its students to participate in, ranging from team sports such as soccer, volleyball and basketball, to fencing and track and field.
Complementing the new campus and gym is the school’s Outdoor Education Program. Linking activities such as rock climbing with math, or mountain exploration to biodiversity, students are able to apply their knowledge directly to the real world in a stimulating and exciting environment. Urban Academy recognizes the importance of physical activity and strives to help each student reach their full potential. Field trips to Mount Seymour and Whistler help to inspire students to challenge themselves physically and mentally, while growing their self-confidence. Allowing students to experience new and challenging opportunities such as zip lining, belaying or white-water survival skills, enables them to learn and be proud of what they are capable of, and how to approach a new challenge head-on.
Says Cheryle Beaumont, Urban Academy’s Head of School: “All of our kids get lots of outdoor exercise but we really focus on the middle school years for the outdoor education program. Students just came back from a leadership camp in Whistler. They’ve done skiing, snowshoeing, kayaking, rock-climbing and they learned to play golf. We want them to handle and use recreational opportunities out in the community.”
“We try to extend academic learning through some of these activities. When we go to winter camp they’re doing science camp in the outdoors. We just did a geology trip up the Coast. The concepts they’re learning are not just at a desk or something they can Google, but they’re things that actually exist in the real world,” says Beaumont.
Urban Academy values success outside the classroom walls as well as on the academic front. In addition to physical education, Urban Academy students also strive for academic excellence. In partnership with a strong academic performance, the school is proud to value science, technology, physical education and the arts equally. The school’s graduates have an impressive 100 per cent post-secondary acceptance rate.