As we know from peer-reviewed studies, years of teaching experience, and pure observation, children of all ages learn best through hands-on exploration. It seems that developing knowledge through ‘doing’ allows students to fully connect with their learning and immerse themselves in the topics of study. The natural environment is the perfect setting in which to discover this love of learning.

In 2012, the Outdoor Education program in the Junior School increased its student participation by adding JK, SK and Grade 4 to the already existing Grades 1-3 program, followed by Grade 5 in 2013 and then Grade 6 in 2015. In fall 2016, we extended our already successful Junior School Outdoor Education Program into our Middle and Senior Schools and continue to build upon the curriculum in the upper grades.

Our Middle and Senior School Outdoor Education Coordinator works collaboratively with teachers across many subjects to identify curricular areas most suitable for outdoor education activities, as well as facilitate learning extensions on our 100-acre property and more distant locations.

Since launching in 2011, Outdoor Education at CDS has enriched our Science and Social Studies curriculums. Rain or shine, students learn in our extensive, natural classroom – the CDS campus. In addition to paper and pencils, their learning tools include rubber boots, the proper outdoor weather attire, and their five senses!

List of 3 news stories.

  • Andrew Bartle

    Andrew Bartle

    Andrew Bartle is a CDS alumnus from the Class of 2004. He earned his BA (Hons) in Geography at Nipissing University and a B.Ed. at the University of Ottawa. Mr. Bartle returned to CDS in 2011 to teach Grade 9 and 12 Physical Education classes before joining the Junior School faculty as a homeroom teacher in Grades 4 and 5. For the past 6 years, he has taught Outdoor Education to a range of different grades.
    Read More
  • Peter Johnson

    Peter Johnson

    Peter Johnson joined the Junior School Outdoor Education faculty in September 2020. He has a BA in Psychology/BSS Criminology from the University of Ottawa and B.Ed. in Junior/Intermediate Division from the University of Toronto. Mr. Johnson has more than 20 years of educational experience teaching science, geography and history as well as an extensive background instructing young people in outdoor settings. He has taught in the Durham District School Board and at an independent school in Toronto.
  • Anne Wellnhofer

    Anne Wellnhofer

    Anne Wellnhofer joined the Middle and Senior School Outdoor Education faculty in September 2020. She has a Bachelor of Environmental Studies (Hons) in Environment & Resource Management, Biology and Geography from the University of Waterloo, and a Diploma in Education from Bishop’s University.  Ms. Wellnhofer most recently comes to us from Greenwood College School where she taught science and geography.
    Read More

Why Outdoor Education?

List of 2 items.

  • Creating a love of and respect for the environment...

    Giving students the opportunity to explore and discover the natural world around them creates a love of the outdoors, fresh air, and the environment. Being in nature promotes a balanced lifestyle and has the potential to improve one’s physical, mental and social health. Children need to experience their own environment to understand it; they cannot simply read about rocks and insects and soils, but need to create their own knowledge through hands-on experiences.
  • Facilitating learning...

    As well as developmental advantages, being in the natural environment has been shown to increase learning. It promotes creativity, including thinking and the ability to respond to problems, and it allows students to form a personal connection to their studies. Research has shown that environmental education integrated into a curriculum increases student achievement in science.


List of 2 frequently asked questions.

See Our Green Space!

Our sprawling campus is set on 100 acres of beautiful, natural lands, with over 500 mature trees and nearly three kilometers of groomed walking trails, with hundreds of wildflowers and indigenous plant species to explore. Students are also able to observe fresh-water life without setting foot off campus because the headwaters of the East Humber River are located on the property. With all of these chances to discover, explore and learn about the environment, CDS is the perfect setting for a successful outdoor education program.


The Country Day School wishes to recognize and acknowledge the land on which the school operates. Our nearest Indigenous Nations are now the Mississaugas of the Credit First Nation and the Chippewas of Georgina Island. The Dish with One Spoon Wampum covenant is often cited as an example of the shared responsibility for caring for these lands among the Huron-Wendat, Anishinaabe and Haudenosaunee peoples who would call these their traditional territories. CDS respects the relationship with these lands and recognizes that our connection to this land can be strengthened by our continued relationship with all First Nations, by acknowledging our shared responsibility to respect and care for the land and waters for future generations.

School Information

13415 Dufferin Street King, Ontario L7B 1K5 
(905) 833-1220

Founded in 1972, The Country Day School is a co-educational private school offering programs in JK-12 and located on 100 acres north of Toronto in King.