Outdoor learning program spares N.W.T. college students from fully online semester

Trena Weyallon moved from Behchoko to Yellowknife this fall to take the two-year early learning and child care diploma program at Aurora College. 

School is now in its third week and she’s only met half her class and one of her instructors. 

“It’s quite different doing it online,” she said. 

The COVID-19 pandemic has driven nearly all college programming online, with at least one exception. Early learning and child care program students in Yellowknife are enrolled in a mentorship program with Bushkids, a land-based learning program that organizes outdoor play for school-aged children every Tuesday and holds outdoor planning sessions on Thursdays. 

“This is kinda like our classroom and not our classroom,” said Weyallon at the Bushkids site, near the Arctic Indigenous Wellness Foundation’s healing camp. “I like it out here.”

And while it may be anything but a normal school year, Weyallon is happy to be learning. 

“I’ve been

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