Learning Through Adventure!

Education & Outdoor Recreation

Great Moose Adventures

Outdoor Education, Wilderness Retreats & Canadian Culture

Programs & Academics

Curriculum

GMA Academy was established by a group of qualified, experienced teachers with a goal to create a day school that offers academic excellence rooted in outdoor, experiential education - where students learn by doing.  This belief is the philosophy for all of our programs; as the students are engaged through inquiry-based exploration and effective classroom teaching, which leads to a growth mindset based on creativity,  passion and dedication.


In order to achieve our goal  we have borrowed from the best and most-relevant aspects of several  teaching/learning pedagogy to create our unique, innovative curriculum, including:


  • Ontario Kindergarten Program
  • Ontario Curriculum
  • Singapore Math - engaging students with real life math
  • Montessori - individualized academics allow students to work at their own pace
  • Waldorf - developing the whole child by emphasizing collaborative, hands-on learning
  • Forest School Canada - inquiry based exploration
  • International Primary Years Program  - topics allow for cross-curricular links


By combining all of these innovative approaches to education, we have developed a hands-on approach to learning that engages a wide variety of learners and  is relevant in today's changing world. 

Programs

Nature Preschool (ages 2 -4)

With a safe and exciting indoor space and our private forest, our Nature Preschool is the ideal location for children aged 2-4 to explore the world around them. Our program is delivered by qualified ECE's with experience combing aspects of Forest School and outdoor education to develop the whole child: academically, socially, emotionally, physically and creatively. 

Kindergarten (ages 4 - 6)

As a stepping stone from our Nature Preschool the Kindergarten class will continue to allow children to flourish by utilizing our vast forested areas as a platform for inspiring imagination, inquiry based learning, developing problem solving skills and children’s natural curiosity about the world around them. Using our network of trails, open spaces and natural play areas children will also have extensive opportunities to make links to the real world through literacy and mathematics.

Junior & Senior Class (ages 6 - 13)

Students enjoy a comprehensive curriculum that includes instruction in English Language, Math, Science & Technology, Social Studies, French, the Arts and Physical & Health Education. The heart of our academic approach is the belief that all students can achieve success and meet their learning goals with the proper support.  A one-size-fits-all approach to learning does not serve the best interests of most students who approach their studies from various learning styles and preferences and at differing stages of skill development. To this end, we diversify our instructional approaches, the content of the learning and our assessment methods to create an overall approach that focuses on meeting the needs of each individual student.

CORE Subjects: Math & Language 

GMA Academy follows a weekly schedule that adheres to all the subjects within the Ontario curriculum; being sure to teach the most relevant objectives and topics throughout the school year.

Everyday starts with the CORE subjects of Math and Language  being taught in the first block - when the brain is fresh and eager for information and growth.  Many of these lessons take place in a traditional classroom setting with the students working at their own pace through their specific objectives. 

Language - lessons focus on a balance of reading, writing, speaking and listening. Students are encouraged to read on a daily basis by following our reading scheme, which is also available online, and by choosing books from our library. Language lessons are taught in a cross curricular fashion as much as possible in order to create strong links between subjects and to make learning relevant and purposeful.

Math - the Singaporean approach is followed due to its historical and continuing success as a program which equips students with a strong foundation in mathematics and high level logical thinking and critical problem solving skills. Math lessons focus on:

  • developing a deep understanding of the core skills to ensure a strong mathematical foundation
  • learning & using mental strategies to solve problems
  • providing regular opportunities to practice using mathematical skills in real-life context


*CORE subjects are also included in our cross-curricular themes and outdoor education.

Outdoor Education & Learning

Outdoor, experiential learning is the optimal teaching method for subjects that involve  hands-on activities, real life connections and opportunities for creativity and exploration into our natural world. The subjects below are regularly taught outdoors:

Science & Technology - following the Ontario curriculum objectives students will utilize our natural environment to begin to relate science and technology, to society and the environment, develop the skills, strategies, and habits of mind required for scientific inquiry and to practise technological problem solving to explore the basic concepts of science and technology; with the overall goal to understand the natural and human designed world.

Social Studies -  utilizing real life scenarios, stories, social activities, games and creative challenges in the field of geography, history, Canadian and World studies, students will have the opportunity to learn about their world around them - both near and far.  Outdoor and structured indoor learning will enable students to become responsible, active citizens within the diverse communities to which they belong. As well as becoming critically thoughtful and informed citizens who value an inclusive society, students will have the skills they need to solve problems and communicate ideas and decisions about significant developments, events, and issues. Special attention will focus on Canadian Indigenous Studies learning about their role in our history, current issues and their symbiotic connection with the natural world.

Arts (Art, Yoga, Music & Dance) - using the lakes, forests, rivers, rocks, mud, flowers, plants, animals  and the other wonders of the natural world as a backdrop for inspiration and beauty, our students create art out of life.  We use natural materials and the environment to build, paint, make music, sing, dance, and perform.

French - taught by a native speaker our French instruction takes the form of real life, active learning, with students cooking, serving and eating meals, learning bush-craft skills,  performing plays, playing games on the field, working in the garden and hiking; providing engagement and opportunities to communicate in French in normal situations . Active French is complimented with traditional class work on vocabulary, grammar and writing to help solidify the learning.

Physical Education & Outdoor Studies- canoeing, cross-country skiing, swimming, hiking, trail running, baseball, ultimate frisbee , touch football, basketball, volleyball, badminton, snowshoeing, cricket and a wide variety of field games provide our students with lots of opportunities for exercise and to build skills for sports.

Food, Nutrition & Health Studies (FNHS) -  working in the garden, tapping for maple syrup, learning how to make healthy food choices, visiting local food producers and helping to create and prepare daily balanced meals is all a part of  the learning that takes places in FNHS. Student learn skills that they will benefit from for a lifetime and help them prosper emotionally, physically & mentally.

Cross-Curricular 

Utilizing broad themes, topics, events, holidays and activities our teachers utilize Cross-Curricular links to encourage inquiry-based, experiential lessons; as the students have the opportunity to shape their learning to focus on their interests, strengths, and learning styles - all the while meeting curriculum expectations. The possibility for connections is endless - here are a few examples:

Canoe Tripping - The quintessential Canadian experience

  • Math - meal preparation including measurements, ratios, food costs and budgets
  • Science - plant and animal habitat, weather, astronomy, water conservation and environmental impact
  • Geography - maps, compass skills, topography, lake and river study 
  • History - connections to Indigenous peoples, fur trading, Coeur du Bois and transportation routes
  • Language - journal writing, reflecting, poetry, instructions, lists, recipes and oral communication skills 
  • Physical Education - canoeing, portaging, hiking ad swimming
  • Health - nutrition, water safety, reflection, personal goals, and living in the moment
  • Arts -  campfire skits, songs and stories, using natural materials for music and forest art


Maple Syrup - The sweet Canadian treat


  • Math - circumference, temperature and time, ratio
  • Science - tree knowledge, water boiling and solidification, soil study
  • Geography - seasons and climate, forest types, environmental impact
  • History - cultural identity, maple leaf as a symbol, French Canadian influence, logging
  • Language - instructions, recipes,  journals,
  • Physical Education - hiking, collecting wood, splitting wood, snowshoeing and forest games
  • Health - nutrition, fire safety, personal goals, reflection and living in the moment
  • Arts - music and movement,  Ontario artists

Specialist Teachers & Lessons

To enrich the curriculum, GMA Academy seeks out specialist teachers to share their passion and knowledge with our students during specialist lessons throughout the year.  A fresh face is an excellent way for the students to learn a specific skill or gain a better understanding of a curriculum topic; while also getting an opportunity to work with an expert who employs different strategies for teaching, communicating and sharing information.  The specialist lessons also allow our CORE teachers time to plan, prepare and assess to be sure that all our teaching is of a high quality.

Information Communication Technology (ICT)

Today's learner needs to become competent in how to use information & communication technology to further their education and live in the 21st century world, however the amount of screen time children are exposed to is carefully monitored at GMA Academy. Through safe and mindful practise, our students use technology to aid their academics and personal interests in a controlled, educational manner; allowing them the tools and skills they need to compete in a global and technologically advanced society.  Google Chromebooks, tablets and the Seesaw Ap are regularly used to share information, organize data, research, investigate and communicate - with lessons provided to ensure students are using technology and social media tools at home in a safe manner.  Educational games and stories (both fiction and non-fiction) and videos are used to compliment our academics in all subject material. 

Assessment

Assessment of pupil's progress and learning is continuous through Teacher Assessment. Alongside this, Assessment for Learning ensures the provision of differentiated learning opportunities that teachers are aware of each child's potential, and that next step targets can be identified.


Reports are completed by the class and specialist subject teachers twice a year. These not only describe progress but also set targets for future learning. Twice a year we invite parents to meet their child's CORE  teachers to discuss their child's education and development.


Learning Objectives are shared using the SeeSaw Ap, so that parents can see student work, learning and achievement as it happens.