When the pandemic struck the Shawnigan Lake School campus no one really understood the magnitude of the impact that self-isolating and remote learning would have on the development and implementation of programs to support and adapt to this new way of life and style of learning. When the pandemic put a halt to the return to school after March Break 2019, the School continued the academic year through our Shawnigan Online Unique Learning (SOUL) program.
With guidance from the redesigned BC curriculum where an increased focus is on inquiry-based learning, and with feedback from the Bernstein report, the Board, and school staff, an interdisciplinary program called SOUL Seeking was born. The program has evolved from an early pandemic effort to “augment the SOUL” of students to one which focuses on students finding passions, personal interests, and exploring new things. The purpose of inquiry-based learning is to get students involved in their learning by choosing themselves what they will be investigating. By exploring their strengths through passion projects, they follow the ICE model to “Inspire others, Create continuously, and Embrace passions.”
What started as a weeklong project in its first year has become a school-wide, year-long, three-step inquiry-based learning project. In October, during the first stage, students visit Mentor Hubs to explore all the various skill sets and knowledge available to them from faculty across campus in order to gain inspiration. With guidance from their Advisors, they decide on a project and create a guiding question that will steer their research through the year and into the second stage in January, when they continue to explore, research, and plan for the third and final stage, a presentation of their project in April. For Grade 12s the SOUL Seeking project fulfills the Capstone requirement for graduation, with the remaining students benefitting from gaining experience in preparation for theirs.
When students present their SOUL Seeking project from its inception all the way through to completion to their peers and teachers, some projects of note will be selected for the SOUL Seeking Showcase event where monetary prizes are up for grabs. The projects chosen by students truly reflect the diversity we have on campus. Last year’s projects ranged from learning or improving on an art, sport, or activity to finding ways to cope with stress during a pandemic, and the presentations were inspirational. Amazing videos, photographs, and products were created by students of their chosen topic, and many found new passions that were previously unknown to them. Books were written, an electric bike was designed, a dog was adopted, tutoring sessions via Zoom were offered, and items were even created to make life just a little bit better in parts of the world. Ultimately, the purpose of the project has promoted a culture of exploration and has allowed students to diversify themselves, preparing them for a diverse world.
Shawnigan Lake School is adhering to all COVID-19 guidelines released by the BC Ministries of Health and Education.
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.
Shawnigan Lake School is an independent co-educational boarding school for ages 13 –18 on Canada’s beautiful West Coast. Our diverse, interdisciplinary and innovative programming helps shape the next generation of global leaders.