For early learning through Grade 7 teachers — a professional development experience that is place-based, natural, curiosity-driven and emergent

August 23 to 25, 2017

Princeton, British Columbia

In this model of professional development you will have the opportunity to advance your understanding of learning through inquiry in an authentic, hands-on, field experience with emergent curriculum that naturally involves the 5Es of inquiry. If you want to increase your expertise in the 5E model of inquiry and core competencies, whether at the early learning or elementary school levels, this summer proD will serve you well.  Immerse yourself in the process and experience how your students could be learning.

Our immersion in learning through inquiry will centre around the Vermilion Bluffs of Princeton, BC. Our guide will be artist-in-residence, Symeon van Donkelaar, along with learning mentors from the SCSBC community. By engaging provocations for learning and playing with natural elements in an outdoor environment, we will develop a rich understanding of the pedagogy of inquiry.

We will learn to know and apply the 5E model — engage, explore, explain, extend, and evaluate.  We will relate the developmental core competencies to our own pedagogy of inquiry. Together, these components and experiences will inform your inquiry-based lesson plan design which will be shared with other participants.  Collaboration and community are the cornerstone of this summer field experience, allowing you to increase your repertoire of knowledge more than if you were learning alone.  Expect opportunities for ongoing networking.

Empowering Inquiry in Learning

Learning is a part of life.  We begin learning the moment we first engage with our world, and we learn throughout life as a result of observation, perceived need, interest, and inquiry.  As educators, we are gifted with opportunities to engage student areas of interest, cultivate curiousity, and facilitate self-motivated learning, but sometimes, how to do so seems elusive.

Inquiry-based learning, or learning through inquiry, is one of the central tenets of British Columbia’s Education Plan.  We seek to engage students in asking questions, seeking answers, and refining and exposing alternate perspectives.  The curriculum lends itself to inquiry and space has been made within the framework to allow teachers, students, and classes to invest in content areas and inquiries of interest.

The change represents a shift in how we consider our pedagogies and planning and in remaining open to following the natural courses of inquiry.  The Inquiry Learning Expedition is geared specifically toward helping educators become better equipped for implementing inquiry-based strategies with their students.

Participants will explore many natural elements in their original settings and allow curiousity to guide further discover.  Facilitators will guide discovery and learning using inquiry-based practices providing an immersive experience which will be coupled with hands-on lesson and unit planning practices which participants with be able to take with them.  We invite you to join us for a transformative professional development expedition, one which will undoubtedly have personal practice effect.

SCSBC Director of Learning Greg Gerber

Dr Greg is a passionate educator who is deeply engaged in the practice and scholarship of teaching and learning. He finds great joy in resolving tensions between teachers’ espoused learning theory and classroom practice, finding clear and creative ways to engage professional educators in refining and enhancing their learner-centred practice. Greg’s proficiency in experiential education techniques and commitment to engaging and connecting people’s previous knowledge and understandings to new learning and discoveries are evidenced in all his workshop and teaching engagements. Greg has extensive experience in curriculum and pedagogy design, school leadership, technology integration, and secondary and post-secondary instruction.

Recognizing the innately inquisitive nature of children, Greg is drawn to pedagogies that empower students to ask questions and seek answers. In this way, Greg defines inquiry as a method that facilitates the asking of powerful questions based on previous and new experiences, then journeying together to explore inference, consequence, assumptions, and in so doing, deepen and widen understanding. Ultimately then, inquiry engagement encourages action and student responsibility toward being a part of meaningful solutions as active and positive contributors to their communities.

Our Learning Expedition

Outside of Princeton, BC, there is a special place that has inspired people with its colours from time out of memory. By journeying to that place, we too can learn as they did about art, culture, history, and science—all by visiting and exploring the area’s red mountains. This summer I’m inviting you, as an artist-expert, to come along with me and explore the Vermillion Bluffs.

Over our three days together, we’ll come to understand the landscape in new ways by using the pastels we make from the area’s earth—letting Princeton’s landscape inspire our vision and our artist’s materials. Creating black charcoal from twigs, and a whole range of bright ochres from the earth, we’ll learn together how to create all the local colours we need for drawing. In doing so we’ll explore a hands-on, multidisciplinary approach to learning that inspires my own artistic practice, and is a great way to see the land in a passionate, new way.

Over the last decade, I’ve journeyed all across Canada and discovered rich and surprising colours in the earth, but the Vermillion Bluffs remains one of my favourites. The rich colours of such a beautiful landscape present an opportunity to hear anew the creation’s praise of God, and to join in with this chorus through our creation of art. I look forward to meeting with you this summer and sharing in this experience with you. ~ Symeon

Special Guest Artist-in-Residence

Symeon van Donkelaar

Symeon van Donkelaar gives the land a role of necessary disclosure, demonstrating how it inspires and informs who we are. As an artist, his work with the earth shares the stories present in local colour — ultimately revealing where we live as being a meaningful basis of our cultural identity. His approach is based on three traditional ways that we’ve been inspired by the landscape: by wandering on pilgrimage, by exploring the world, and by experiencing God in specific places on earth.

Through his art, Symeon is passionate about sharing with others a place’s artistic potential. He’s taught the children of Kamloops how to make crayons from the earth, painted ancestral rocks with the hands and native soils of the Luiseño people in San Diego, and reinterpreted a derelict building into colour with artists in Berlin. In each case, such projects bring together a community of people to explore, learn and make from their local landscape, the experience reminding us that the land and its colours may be known in a fuller way, and inviting us to experience a sense of belonging and responsibility towards that particular place.


7600 Glover Road, Langley, BC  V2Y 1Y1 604.888.6366