What is place-based learning?

Place-based learning is often used interchangeably with outdoor learning or environmental education. While each term connotes a slightly different description, ultimately, place-based learning focuses on learning that uses authentic contexts to learn and connect subject areas in a meaningful way (Skoutajan, 2012). Learning through our local environment cultivates increasing wonder in God’s creation, a deeper understanding of the people in the community and the lands we inhabit and ultimately to become people of action, developing the competencies needed for a flourishing life.

How do we define PBE at Cascade?
Authentic learning experiences

Place-based education connects the content learned in the classroom with hands-on, experiential learning outside. For example, studying biodiversity in the classroom becomes more meaningful as students examine and explore biodiversity in a real-world setting. This connection leads to deeper learning.

Strengths-based opportunities

At Cascade Christian School, we believe each student has unique gifts and strengths that are needed and contribute to the health of the greater community. Place-based education recognizes that our diverse students need varied opportunities to build on these strengths.

Learning to Lead
Transformational Servant leadership

Our school’s mission statement is “To inspire living with wonder, serving with purpose and leading with God’s grace.” As our students engage, explore and are equipped to spend time in Creation and our local community, they become more aware of their place in God’s story in the world around them. We desire our students to authentically live out their faith with passion and purpose, serving those around them both in the school and in the larger community.

Wonder and Faith

Wonder is the awe and awareness of the beauty and intricacy of Creation. As students connect the natural world’s design, beauty, and diversity with God’s character, their faith deepens, and they begin to respond to this growing awareness personally and in their communities.

Gear List

Engage & Explore

Below is the suggested gear list. As we head outside in all types of weather, proper gear is helpful for a positive experience. GoingPLACES shirt may be layered with long-sleeved shirts.
  • Running shoes
  • Hiking shoes or boots – waterproof is suggested
  • GoingPLACES shirt
  • Long-sleeved shirt for layering
  • Pants/jeans or track pants. No leggings or jeans with rips
  • Fleece hoodie
  • Rain jacket with hood
  • Hat- toque for cold, hat for sun/rain
  • Gloves
  • Water bottle
  • Pocket warmers
  • Sunscreen


(Required gear)
  • Running shoes
  • Hiking shoes or boots – waterproof are needed.
  • GoingPLACES shirt
  • Thermal shirt- long sleeve
  • Pants- base layer- long johns, leggings 
  • Waterproof layer- rain pants
  • Fleece hoodie
  • Rain jacket with hood
  • Hat- toque for cold, hat for sun/rain
  • Gloves- for cold and wet conditions
  • Backpack
  • Water bottle or water bladder
  • Pocket warmers
  • Sunscreen
  • Sunglasses

Frequently Asked Questions

Where do you take the students? Will I know where they are going each week?

The students explore a variety of local environments. Occasionally, we travel east to Manning Park and west to Vancouver. We post the planned location on Google calendar the week before for students to access. 

What about bad weather?

We go out outside – rain or shine. Safety is paramount, so there are times when the weather will dictate a change in the planned activity (e.g. we would not hike if there was lightning). 

What happens if my child sleeps in and comes late to school?

We leave shortly after the second bell goes. If your child misses the bus, there is no-one to supervise them at school, and you will be called to pick them up.

What should my child wear for GoingPLACES?

See gear list above


Chawla, L., & Escalante, M. (2007). Student gains from place-based education.
Fact Sheet: https://www.colorado.edu/cedar/sites/default/files/attached-files/CYE_FactSheet2_Place-Based%20Education_December%202010_0.pdf

Dadvand, P., Nieuwenhuijsen, M., Esnaola, M., Forns, J., Basagana, X., Alvarez-Pedrerol, M., Rivas, I., Lopez-Vicente, M., De Castro Pascual, M., Su, J., Jerrett, M., Querol, X., & Sunyer, J. (2015).  Green spaces and cognitive development in primary schoolchildren. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 112, 7937-7942.

McCormick, R. (2017). Does access to green space impact the mental well-being of children: A systematic review. Journal of Pediatric Nursing, 37, 3-7. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.pedn.2017.08.027

Roe, J., & Aspinall, P. (2011). The restorative outcomes of forest school and conventional school in young people with good and poor behaviour. Urban Forestry and Urban Planning, 10, 205-212.

Skoutajan, S. (2012). Defending place-based education. Green Teacher, 97, 34-36.

Vander Ark, T., Liebtag, E., & McClennen, N. (2020). The Power of Place, ASCD


After careful consideration of the road conditions and the safety of everyone involved, it has been decided to cancel our Open House this year.
Registration will still open on Monday, January 22 at 8:30am as scheduled. Registration forms are available to print in advance under the admissions tab on this site. Thank you for your support and patience!