Education Philosophy

While our mission, vision and values guide us to the type of society we would like to see, our education philosophy is at the core of how we intend to embody these values.

p.i.n.e. is a strong proponent of the idea that teaching does not necessarily have to entertain the “traditional” teacher-student dynamic, but instead can reach back even further to traditions that use a basis of mutual respect framed as mentoring. In this way, we see that we are not only guiding the participants in our programs and having them learn from us, but that we remain open to learning from them as well.

Our model of education is largely based on the cycles of nature. Jon Young, co-founder of the Wilderness Awareness School, and his mentor Tom Brown Jr., founder of The Tracker School, developed a theoretical foundation for guiding and mentoring others on their path to an ever-deepening connection with nature. We focus our mentoring style on Jon Young’s Eight Shields method of deepening connections with nature. Please watch the video below for more information on Eight Shields.


A Window into What We Have Done So Far

The following booklet was passed on to us by Michelle Gordon, a staff member and former student of the University of Waterloo, as part of a research project. It was created to share outcomes of research by Bryan Grimwood, professor in the Department of Recreation and Leisure Studies at the University of Waterloo, and Michelle Gordon, student and research assistant, in partnership with the p.i.n.e. project. The purpose of the research was to communicate stories of children’s experiences participating in the p.i.n.e. project programs.

These stories are a celebration of children’s experiences of environmental learning, community, nature connection, and the character trait of resilience.

View or download the PDF.