Yellowknife’s Mildred Hall School will be taking lessons to the outdoors on Nov. 12.

The kindergarten to Grade 8 educational facility has built an outdoor learning centre for its students.

“Our school, we’re really focusing on Forest School and outdoor learning,” vice-principal Ryan Nichols said of the initiative.

A ceremony will be conducted for the official opening, with drummers, an Elder’s speech and class tours planned for the event. There will also be cake.

The Grade 7 and Grade 8 students will participate in a feed-the-fire ceremony and the school’s principal will say a few words as well.

The learning centre — designed to run in winter and summer — is made up of different sections around the school, with one in the front, one on the side, and a big tent frame in back.

Nichols said students are excited over the idea of learning while outside, closer to nature.

“We’ve always tried to take students out as much as possible, whether it be with camps, or just nature walks, we’re in a pretty centralized location where we can use the trail to our advantage,” he said. “We live in such a great area, such a great space. We’re learning that hands-on activities are beneficial for all students.”

The creation of the outdoor learning centre came from a collaboration between a local resident and a former staff member.

“We used to have a staff member who was called the Indigenous language liaison person,” said Nichols. “She sort of took the project on, did some of it herself but also contracted the major construction of the tent frame out to a local community member. But, for the most part, she does did a lot herself.

“The stumps for the seats or the logs that were cut in half for benches, she sort of took that on herself with the help of her friends, and that’s how it came to be,” said Nichols.

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