Blue Schools Canada
What is Blue Schools Canada?
Blue Schools Canada serves as the Canadian node within the All-Atlantic Blue Schools Network (AA-BSN), a global initiative launched in 2021 that connects schools located in countries along the Atlantic Ocean.
This program is designed to involve students in enriching learning experiences that enhance their understanding of the global ocean and freshwater ecosystems, raise awareness about ocean-climate issues, and involve local community initiatives that inspire action.
All schools, from coast to coast to coast, and inland are eligible to be a Blue School. Individual teachers and their classes can join or entire schools.
COLC, together with our partner team, coordinates the Blue Schools Canada program, supporting schools – public and private, as well as alternative education programs (e.g., homeschooling, Forest Schools) across Canada.
Blue Schools Canada Framework: The What
The diagram below illustrates the dynamic integration of three key learning streams within the Blue Schools Canada Framework. Reconciliation Education fosters renewed relationships between Indigenous Peoples and Canadian settlers through cultural understanding and transformative learning for empathy, respect, and collaboration. Global Citizenship Education promotes intercultural understanding, a culture of peace and inclusion, and global responsibility. Education for Sustainable Development (ESD), with a specific focus on SDG 13 – Climate Action and SDG 14 – Life Below Water, ensures that the convergence of these three learning streams collectively drive the central goal of the Blue Schools Canada Framework – “Learning for Action.”
Blue Schools Canada Framework: The How
For successful implementation of the Blue Schools Canada Framework in the curriculum planning cycle, it is essential to establish Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) as a foundational element across subjects, with a primary emphasis on ocean-climate education. This approach, supported by a diverse community of ocean experts, fosters transformative learning experiences that empower students to address real-world challenges, and promote positive change within their communities. Here’s how we will achieve this:
- Curriculum Integration
Our team of ocean education experts collaborate with educators to seamlessly incorporate locally relevant ocean and freshwater themes into every grade level and subject within K-12 education. This integration ensures that students are knowledgeable and deeply connected to the waters that shape our world.
- Inclusive Learning Environments
We foster inclusive and collaborative learning spaces celebrating diverse perspectives and knowledge systems, enriching the educational experience. By embracing different viewpoints, we promote intercultural friendships and create opportunities for participatory action.
- Solving Real-World Challenges
Blue Schools encourages students to apply their knowledge and skills to investigate and design innovative solutions for issues related to the ocean, watersheds, and freshwater resources in their local communities. Our focus is on turning education into action for a sustainable future.
- Making Meaningful Connections
Effective learning involves making meaningful connections between different domains of knowledge rather than just focusing on isolated pieces of information. It’s about connecting the dots (knowledge gained over time) between prior knowledge and the new learning experience.
Incorporating ESD into curriculum planning contributes to Goal 4 (Quality Education), while also placing a strong emphasis on environmental and climate action, which is essential for realizing both Goals 13 (Climate Action) and 14 (Life Below Water).
Offerings & Opportunities
2023/2024 School Year
The partner team at Blue Schools Canada (BSC) will introduce new offerings and opportunities every school year to enhance the learning experience. While some options will be accessible to everyone, certain exclusive opportunities will only be for BSC members and will be marked with the BSC icon. Other offerings and opportunities will be added based on the needs and suggestions of the Blue Schools Community.
1. The Giant Floor Map (GFM) Program
The Ocean, Freshwater and Us giant floor map is an immersive instructional tool that invites learners of all ages to physically engage with and explore Canada’s ocean and freshwater systems. For educators teaching middle-high school students, integrated classroom workshops deepen students’ understanding and engagement. At school community events, self-directed exploration enables learners to dive deeper into the subject matter at their own pace.
Augmented reality features, provide immersive experiences shedding light on conservation efforts and fostering interactive learning moments. Educators can integrate the map into their unit plans with a teacher’s guide featuring adaptable learning pathways.
Contact us to learn more about the GFM program or to explore how we can co-create a customized learning experience for your class!
2. Early Career Ocean Professionals ‘Live Learning’ Series
Join our monthly 2023-2024 live learning series in partnership with Exploring by the Seat of your Pants and Early Career Ocean Professionals (ECOP) Canada, where young ocean professionals, both national and international, share insights about their work.
3. BSC-Community of Practice (CoP) Monthly Office Hours
4. Blue Schools Experiential Learning Grant
Our Blue Schools Experiential Learning Grant offers funding through applications to help cover costs associated with field studies, excursions, and hands-on blue learning activities (such as water quality testing, river/coastline clean-up, ocean expert speakers, aquarium visits, canoe building, etc.). The call for this grant opportunity is now open (November 2, 2023-January 15, 2024).
Ready to connect with the Blue Schools Canada community?
Please take 5 minutes to complete this brief registration form.
Teachers have the option to sign up for a single class, a few classes, or the entire school at no cost.
After completing the registration process, a representative from our team will reach out to you to verify your membership.
Lastly, we encourage you to share your school’s new BSC membership status on social media by including the hashtag #BlueSchoolsCA and tagging @CANoceanlitCO on Twitter (X).