How do I register my child?

You can register your child through our online reservation system or by downloading the registration form from our website. You can complete and submit the form from your computer via email. You may also print the registration form and send it via fax or mail. Registrations will not be accepted without the $600 deposit, which is payable by credit card or cheque. If you have any questions about how to register, please do not hesitate to contact us.

What is the difference between the 2-week program and the Multi-Modal program options?

The main difference between the two options is either complete face-to-face delivery OR partial face-to-face delivery with additional on-line learning components. The credits are granted through a long-term partnership with the NNDSB (Near North District School Board) and are recognized and approved by the Ministry of Education.

  • During the 2-week summer credit course option, students will complete the entire course curriculum on-site and course delivery is done entirely in a face-to-face format.
  • The Multi-Modal option may be delivered through a variety of face-to face formats (Either a 1-week or a multi-weekend option depending on the session and time of year the course(s) are being offered).

The remainder of the required hours is completed independently through on-line learning modules, which will be set-up and discussed during the on-site portion of the course.

How do I know if this is the right program and experience for my child?

This is the perhaps the hardest question to answer which is why we have put it at the top of the list. The questions below will help you to make a more informed decision. These courses may not be for every student but are beneficial for many. We invite and encourage you to give us a call to discuss your child and his/her learning needs prior to registering for a credit course.

  • 2-week Credit Option: The 2-weeks are intensive and require both students and parents to be pro-active in their learning. Students need to be ready to dedicate a condensed amount of time to learning and achieving the goal of earning a credit.
  • Multi-Modal Option: This option may or may not be for all students. As there is an independent on-line option, students should be prepared and willing to have some self-discipline to get work done without a teacher or parent always monitoring their work and progress. For greatest success, parents need to be willing to help their child at home with the independent and online course work.
  • R.E.A.C.H. Option: Designed for all students but with a focus on the student who experiences anxiousness, nervousness or stress in the classroom environment. Students will not only receive a credit (HDD3O) but learn; tips, techniques and coping strategies that will help them manage their own needs. Visit our website for more information.

We know that grades are important, but our programs are also geared towards providing students with the skills and experiences that will help them in future endeavors. We believe the final grade does not always reflect the real life learning that was had and we strive to show students that this IS equally if not more important than the final mark.

The CEC encourages and welcomes your help in being a part of your child’s educational journey. Our teaching staff has a short period of time to get to know all students in a full class and it can be difficult and challenging to accommodate 100% of each student’s needs (both emotional, socially, physically and educationally) without incorporating a team approach. Students MUST be able to seek out help when or if they are not understanding material, or having difficulties with any aspect of the course. Parents also need to contact us immediately during the program if they have any questions or concerns. Our teachers are passionate about teaching and we are passionate about our program…but a quality and positive educational experience requires everyone’s investment in the program. 

Is transportation available to and from the Canadian Ecology Centre

Transportation is not available “to” The Canadian Ecology Centre. The first day is very important and a busy day for everyone involved. Helping your child settle in and get comfortable to their surroundings is key to creating a welcoming environment and a successful transition into our program. We also cannot supervise students during the check-in process until the beginning of the session start time. We offer a bus home for an additional fee at the end of Session #1 and #2 which makes stops in Hunstville, Barrie and Vaughan, spaces are limited and on a first come first serve basis

Do students really earn a full semester high school credit?

The 2-week Program: Yes…it’s true! 110 hours are required by the Ministry of Education to achieve a full semester credit course. Students are in a learning environment (both inside and outside) for approximately 10-12 hours per day. With 14 days of learning, it’s easy to obtain additional hours above the required 110 hours. This allows some flexibility to also incorporate additional incidental and curriculum based learning through a variety of outdoor activities, guest speakers and field trips. Students MUST be able to attend the entire 2-weeks in order to achieve the credit.

Multi-Modal Program: It’s the same as above with the exception that only a portion of the course hours are completed on-site while the remainder of the course hours are divided out into on-line learning modules (readings, assignments, projects, etc…) Students MUST also be able to attend all the on-site dates in order to achieve the credit.

What is a typical class size?

The CEC believes that having multiple teachers in the classroom is one way in which we can reach and intrigue more learning from our students…so we do just that! Each classroom will have 2 qualified teachers for each course, along with many other support staff (including qualified teachers) that help to create the educational team. Class sizes can vary from a minimum of 10 students up to a maximum of about 28 students. We would love to guarantee small classes for everyone, but unfortunately the educational funding requires a minimum number of students before a teacher can be hired. Our larger classes typically help to offset funds for our smaller classes, which allow more courses to run each year. It is sometimes difficult to predict which classes may be large or small on any given year, so please feel free to contact us if you have any questions or concerns.

My child is going into grade 9 and this will be his/her first experience with a high school course. How do I know if he/she is ready to take this course?

Entering grade 9 is an exciting time for most students, yet it can bring out some natural apprehension and anxiousness at the same time. With so many social and emotional aspects to the adolescent years, this can be a trying time for most if not all students of this age. We do our best to help students make the transition from elementary to secondary school both academically and socially.

During this transitional time, parental involvement in your child’s experience can be paramount! As mentioned above, we do NEED students to be able to ask for help when they need it and this is where you as a parent/guardian can be of assistance! Teach and show your child how to ask for help. Stress that seeking help is not a sign of weakness but of great strength and determination. Advocate for them when they can’t or are struggling, but do it immediately. Don’t wait for weeks or months after the course has ended to bring something to our attention. We can’t fix or help what we don’t know!

I’m a parent who likes to be actively involved in my child’s experiences, what can I do to support them while they are at the CEC?

There is a lot you can do and we encourage all parents to be involved throughout the program. Parental involvement in your child’s experience can be paramount, please re-read or if you missed it…read the paragraphs above in #2.

We encourage all parents to be in communication (via email or phone) with us throughout the program as much or as little as you feel necessary. Call to check in…see how they are doing academically and perhaps more importantly, talk to them about what life skills and experiences they are learning. This is what truly guides us through life…take the pressure off them to achieve a certain grade and applaud them for the life skills they are achieving! Please feel free to be involved!

Is this course similar to a summer residential camp?

Short answer is No…this is not camp. The CEC credit courses are either a full or partial residential academic program and should not be considered to be equivalent to the experience you might have at an overnight summer camp. Our courses do incorporate components of “camp” into the program, (ie. Games, camping trip, swim time, etc…) as well as creating fun and hands-on learning environments.

How much time do students spend in class VS free time?

Due to the intensive nature of the courses and in order to achieve the required learning hours as well as incorporate fun “camp like” experiences into the program, there is limited free time scheduled. Students will mostly have free time available between meals and class time, as well as some supervised free time or social activities scheduled at the end of the evening. Extra classroom help time is usually available most evenings for students who would like further assistance/explanation of course work or would like additional time to complete/improve their course work. The CEC encourages students to use the evening free time to unwind from a busy day, as we feel the benefits of this and the student socialization that occurs is just as important as the course work. It is generally left up to the student to decide if and when they want to take that additional evening classroom help…but it is always available if they choose it.

What social activities are available for students?

Many outdoor, interactive and experiential components are included as part of the course. These include opportunities for students to interact socially with others within their own class as well as students in other classes at the same time. Often during meal times or at the end of the night, special activities will be planned for students to interact outside of a “classroom learning environment” (ie. Group games/challenges, group picnic, campfires, basketball, Frisbee, crafts, music lessons, etc…)

What kind of supervision and support staff is provided?

We believe a quality educational experience includes a multitude of resources and support networks. Two qualified teachers are hired to co-teach for each course, providing more opportunities for students to learn as well as an increased support network in the classroom. The CEC also hires up to 5 “Outdoor Recreation Staff” whom fill a variety of resource/support roles during each session (many are even teachers themselves). They are available to help out in the classrooms/field trips as needed, assist with day/evening supervision, planning of social activities and to lead the outdoor activities/skills components of the courses (ie. Canoeing, swimming, camping, etc…). The “Recreation Staff” also provide additional support for students who may want or need to talk to someone during their stay.

Both the teachers and the Recreation Staff live on-site (in nearby cabins) and are available 24 hours a day for the duration of each session. Many other additional staff are available during the course to assist as needed, including the CEC Camp Coordinator and Camp Director (Director of Education), as well as our main office staff.

Although we do our best to recognize potential situations or issues, it is not always easy given the short and intensive time frame of the courses. Students should know that they have a variety of individuals available to them should they need help or support in dealing with any situation (ie. Homesickness, anxiety, social issues, etc…) and should seek out these resource people as needed. It is important that students can self-advocate for their own needs or others and need to be able to ask for help when required as stated above. Students also have access to a confidential “talk-box” (that is checked daily) to share questions, comments or concerns.

Can students who have behavioural issues attend these courses?

 We know that experiential and outdoor learning can have tremendous benefits for those students who are often considered “behavioural” in the classroom environment, but are in fact just very hands-on and interactive learners. We are happy to accept students who would benefit and be successful from an alternative learning environment. At the same time, due to the intensity and academic nature of the program, we have limited time and resource people available to deal with true behavioural issues (ie. Bullying, Defiance, aggression, actions illegal in nature, etc…). For this reason we have a very strict policy and tolerance for inappropriate behavior. Please contact us if you are unsure if this is the right experience for your child.

What modifications do you make for students who have learning disabilities?

The intensive multi-day format and hands-on approach to learning is often beneficial for students who may have mild learning disabilities or require learning/assessment modifications (with our without an IEP). We incorporate a variety of teaching styles throughout the program to address the learning needs of all our students. Due to the nature of studying a subject matter intensively day to day and demonstrating real life applications and connections, students are most often very successful in our programs, despite any learning exceptionalities they may have. We do our best, but again…students need to advocate for themselves when they need extra help. Please contact us if you are unsure if this is the right experience for your child.

Can my son/daughter bring their cell phone, IPod, technology, etc…?

We offer a technology “Freed” program…most of the time. Students are NOT permitted to have any personal technologies with or on them during course hours (aside from when they might be used for classroom activities) and NEVER at their cabins. There is a process to sign-in/sign-out these technologies if they are brought to the CEC (at given times only). Please keep in mind that the CEC is NOT responsible for ANY damages, lost, stolen or broken technologies brought to the CEC…so if you don’t need it…don’t bring it!

Although we make use of technology and computers in the classroom environment, students are not permitted to have any items that can connect to WiFi on them; such as IPods/IPads, E-books, cell-phones, gaming systems, computers (unless required for learning), MP3 players, E-watches, etc…etc…etc… These items would be confiscated and returned to the student at the end of the course if found. Don’t bother asking folks…even if you dismantle the WiFi connection somehow…you still can’t have them on you!

The CEC believes in the value of “disconnecting” from technology and “re-connecting” with face-to-face social interaction and play…something that is hard to do in our electronically minded society. This is a positive experience and something that you can discuss with your child prior to attending the program. Students are permitted to bring digital cameras only and CD’s to play in a small portable stereo, as well as having access to CEC computers and phones for personal communication. More details of what can be brought to camp will be outlined in the secondary information package. Each cabin has a clock radio! Just think of the great local music stations your child will be able to dial into!

Every few nights, there is a designated “techie-time” allowed (usually following dinner). Students are permitted at this time to sign-out their personal cell-phones if they brought them. CEC computers are available for checking email and CEC phones are available for home communication (Students should bring a calling card with them or show them how to call collect).

Okay parents…don’t worry! Even if your child doesn’t have their phone on them, it’s okay! You can always contact us to speak to your child…and they will be okay! The CEC keeps in communication with you and updates will be on social media and/or blogs. A little bit of electronic disconnect between you and your child is good for you too . Just think, you are helping them become independent, a life skill will all want for our children!

What are the living and food accommodations like?

Students will share a cabin with 2 or 3 other people that are of the same sex and in the same credit course. Each cabin is equipped with shower/washroom facilities, a small fridge and full bedding. A complete equipment list is sent out in the secondary registration package. You can see photos of cabins on the CEC website.

Please don’t send any cabin mate requests until you receive the secondary package. You can put it on the initial registration form or email it…but honestly…we don’t even look at it unless it’s identified on the cabin mate request page (that is given in the secondary information package). Roommate requests are generally all met…as long as everyone requests one another.

All meals are provided, including accommodations for any dietary needs and/or allergies. Snacks are not provided. Many students will either bring a small amount of spending money for our on-site tuck shop or bring NUT-FREE snacks with them that they can keep in their individual cabins. If you have any particular questions about how we accommodate special dietary needs, please don’t hesitate to contact us.

How does the CEC deal with special situations and/or circumstances?

The Canadian Ecology Centre is open to discussing any situation with you and how we might accommodate, welcome, support and/or provide adaptation to our program to meet your child’s needs. Whether the nature is religious, cultural, gender, personal or whatever the situation…we are happy to meet with you. Given consideration to any limitations we might have to site, staff and resources, the CEC will do our best to create a welcoming open dialogue to come up with a solution together.