Young People’s Language School students

Young People’s Language School students “experience” Canada

 YPLS students enjoyed a day of iconic Canadian experiences by canoeing, kayaking and swimming at Lac McGlashan north of Ottawa. Here YPLS teacher Petryna Venuta (second from left) enjoys kayaking with several YPLS students.

  Led by outdoor education specialist Alan Earwaker, YPLS students sang around the campfire .

Just before the end of the school semester in June, the students of OCENET’s Young People’s Language School (YPLS) spent a day north of Ottawa at the Lac McGlashan Outdoor Education Center in Quebec. These international students attend YPLS to enhance their English language skills in preparation for attending OCDSB high schools. The excursion day was the first time many of the international students experienced the Canadian outdoors away from the city. What may be a fairly common experience and taken for granted by Canadians was a truly unique and memorable experience for the YPLS students.

Hosted by outdoor education expert Alan Earwaker, the students were instructed about safety routines and various paddling strokes for canoes and kayaks, and then it was time for the students to venture out on beautiful Lac McGlashan. After lunch in a rustic log cabin, the students learned about the local wildlife and had a chance to view bear and moose skulls up close as well as snake spines and turtle shells.

Following a campfire style singalong the students were back on the water and later had an opportunity to cool off with their first ever swim in a fresh water lake. As Alan Earwaker has observed through his approach of “learning by doing” in nature: "Students gain confidence, trust, and build stronger relationships with each other while developing life skills. These benefits can be long lasting....Students gain confidence, trust and build stronger relationships with each other while developing life skills. These experiences assist the learner both inside and outside of the classroom."

For one of the YPLS teachers, Petryna Venuta, "It was wonderful to witness the students out on the water, experiencing the Canadian landscape after learning about it in the classroom. This experience has been outstanding."

The students definitely appreciated experiencing the Canadian outdoors. For Hien, a student from Vietnam: "That was the first time I go canoeing. I think that was one the most fun times that I have had studying at YPLS." Tina from China reflectively summed up the day: "It was my first time swimming in a lake, canoe, and touch the old trees. I'll keep it carefully in my memory.”


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