Beyond the Gates

Where losing sight of land, / We shall find the stars.
~ Sir Francis Drake
Launched as a pilot program in September 2021, Beyond the Gates is an exciting opportunity for Grade 9 students at Shawnigan Lake School. This dynamic year-long program takes students out of the classroom and into the beautiful and diverse wilderness of Vancouver Island and beyond. All students participate in a series of experiential learning and outdoor activities, allowing the connection between the classroom curriculum and real-world applications to be explored. This is accomplished by blending lived learning experiences with academic classes, all facilitated by a dedicated team of dynamic education staff. Through these experiences students additionally gain soft skills such as teamwork, leadership, curiosity, and flexibility, all while seeing benefits in mental health and self-confidence. By participating and actively engaging in outdoor adventure, multi-disciplinary projects, and cultural activities students add meaning, experience, and intent to their academic journey.


Surrounded by the vast, rugged wilderness of British Columbia, Shawnigan Lake School is perfectly suited to take advantage of the many outdoor activities and experiences the region has to offer. Whether it be on the water or in the hills, there is something for all to gain from the program. By connecting classroom curriculum and future-proofing skills to real-world experiences, the program is equipping students with the tools they need to thrive in an ever-changing world environment.

Throughout the year, a series of activities supplement classroom-based teaching, challenging themselves by exploring new horizons and applying new knowledge, skills, and values to their world and in turn allowing the Grade 9 students to discover themselves.
My daughter has been in her element for the past month and her love for learning has returned in a way that is inspiring and motivating. Being out in nature has cultivated her curiosity and naturally draws her to question and explore her environment. Learning in a holistic way where the subjects are woven together helps her understand concepts and apply her understanding more easily. Building a close knit group has created a safe, caring space where she can feel free to make mistakes and take risks she normally wouldn't. With knowledgeable leaders at the helm, she knows she can go to either of you with academic or personal challenges she faces. We are so fortunate to have our daughter part of this program and grateful that you have chosen to create this program.  - Current Parent
We acknowledge with respect the Coast Salish Peoples on whose traditional lands and waterways we live, learn and play. We are grateful for the opportunity to share in this beautiful region, and we aspire to healthy and respectful relationships with those who have lived on and cared for these lands for millennia.