Our Programs

Yearley Outdoor Education Centre
Our Programs2017-02-27T10:43:29+00:00

At Yearley, all of our programs are a great way for kids and adults alike to have fun in the outdoors!

Students and Parents: Everyone will learn a lot while having a great time! Parents, this program can only happen with your help and support! If you’re interested in volunteering, please fill out a volunteer form and submit it to the class teacher.

Teachers: All Yearley programs connect to the ‘Ontario Grade 6 Curriculum’. We support teachers in making their decisions about which programs to choose through a pre-visit chat (either in person, via email, or by phone). We also support teachers, once back in the classroom, by giving supporting follow-up ideas so the inquiry-based experiential learning can continue all year long.

arts program

Nature’s beauty and intricacies are captured in a quiet and soulful way, through our ‘Look, See, Paint’ program. Designed by local artist Jeff Millar, this watercolour program has been a favourite for many years.  Students will have the opportunity to learn about watercolour painting within the broader context of the outdoor classroom. Seeing nature from a place of truly looking can add a sense of wonder, value, and protection for our natural environment that might not otherwise occur.  This program is somewhat weather sensitive but can be chosen in Fall or Spring when temperatures allow. In addition to this program we offer other art opportunities such as making a beaded moccasin with modelling clay and beads, creating a class talking stick, and sketching materials for free time.


During the Spring and Fall, students have an opportunity to explore the Yearley ponds while learning the basics of canoeing. All of the Yearley staff are certified canoe instructors through Ontario Recreational Canoe and Kayak Association.  In pairs, and working as a team, students learn about the equipment required, canoeing safety, parts of the canoe and paddle, how to get in and out of a canoe safely, as well as basic paddling strokes. This is a great introduction for those who have never had the chance to paddle, a fun way to improve skills for those that have, and an opportunity for everyone to experience the beauty of the clear cold spring-fed Yearley ponds.

Ecology Game

Students have a blast running through the forest in this giant game of survivor tag! Kids become carnivores, herbivores, and omnivores. There’s a conservationist, disease, and a student representing mankind. While trying to avoid their predators and disease, students discover the impact of mankind on the animal they’ve become, the challenges of survival, and how effecting just one species can have a huge impact on the entire ecosystem. Using teamwork with their species and their own strategies, students run around looking for food and water stations while role-playing in this action-packed exciting activity.

Night program fire-Sept.2013

Come and enjoy the magic of the night!  Each group that visits Yearley participates in an evening program, rain or shine. After dinner and some free play time,  students might play the Ecology Game or Capture the Pig, when the daylight hours are long. As it gets darker, the class, along with their teacher, Yearley staff, and parent volunteers, embark on a silent and mindful night walk down to the Yearley ponds, using all of their senses and tuning into their night vision. A rich and unforgettable experience, filled with storytelling, wolf howls, sharing circles, and on clear nights stargazing and identifying constellations. Weather depending, evening programs can also include a campfire, watching a Survivorman episode, and playing games.

Fur Trade

Welcome to the year 1790!  Here we are, at Grand Portage, on the north shores of Lake Superior. As young ‘Courier de Bois’ (students), working for the Northwest Company, we are about to embark on an adventure-filled time of trading with the First Nations people (adults). What do we, Courier de Bois, have that the First Nations people want? Items from Europe that the First Nations people have never seen before (metal pots, glass beads, muskets and much more)!  And what do the first Nations people have that we ‘young Courier de Bois’ want? Furs! Lots of furs! Especially the much sought after beaver pelt. In this action-packed outdoor game, the goal is to become savvy at trading and bartering, while understanding our past communities, the impact upon the First Nations people, and how our country became influenced by the Europeans.

Point-to-Point Mapping

Join us in working for the “Yearley Engineering Firm'” as we map out a bike path around one of the Yearley ponds! Students work together to design a hypothetical project. They begin, out in the field, learning to use a compass.  By taking bearings and measurements, we record points that link together. Then we take the data we’ve collected in the field and draft a map, to scale. A great hands-on experiential way to work together using maps, learning how to use a compass, and create a concrete project.


In teams, along with staff and parental support, students embark on a deeper understanding of their surroundings by learning their cardinal directions, how to use a compass and follow bearings to get to specific points. Like a giant outdoor treasure hunt, students work together using their newly acquired compass skills to find symbols on signs throughout the forest on the Orienteering course they’ve been assigned to.

Wetlands program
Have you ever wondered what you might do if you were lost in the bush? Join us in this engaging, hands-on program where we learn the essentials of wilderness survival. Working in small teams, students love creating their very own bush shelters by using what nature provides. There is also the opportunity to learn all about the skills required to light a fire in a wilderness situation. Learn how to find dry wood, how to pick a safe fire site, and how to light a fire using matches, flint and fire-steel, or a bow and fire-drill.  If we are successful, we may even get to roast marshmallows!

Wilderness Survival
Have you ever wondered what you might do if you were lost in the bush?  Join us in this very engaging, hands-on program where we embark into the skills of how to survive in the wilderness. Working in small teams, students learn to be creative in building their very own bush shelters by using what nature provides. There is also the opportunity to learn all about the skills required to light a fire in a wilderness situation. Learn what wood to collect and what not to, how to pick a fire site and how to light a fire using matches, flint and firesteel and bow and firedrill.  If we are successful, we may even get to roast marshmallows!

Yearley Winter Games
Can you imagine how much fun you could have creating a crazy game with some rubber chickens and snowshoes?! Using a variety of Yearley equipment, including GT racers, balls, snowshoes, pylons, hockey equipment, cross country skis, and rubber chickens, students have a blast playing in the snow while creating various unique events and challenges for their classmates. In teams of four, students design and devise games that are timed and recorded. Each team has an opportunity to try each creative and challenging event, collect data, and share the results from this action-packed activity.

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