With spring break solidly behind us, many Vancouver moms are starting to think about summer vacation. There are lots of fabulous day camps and summer programs on offer all across the city, and throughout the suburbs. If you’re looking for something a little bit different this year, you might want to check out Pear Tree Education in Kitsilano.
Pear Tree is the brain child of Alexis Birner and Paul Romani. They met at a summer camp in the UK eight years ago, and they have taught overseas as well as here in Canada. However, they felt that there was something lacking in the education system. Paul says, “In no country did we really see that kids were being taught how to apply education to real life. You’ve got kids that lose focus on education because they become disillusioned, and think it’s a waste of time.” They wanted to create a place where kids could engage in hands-on, project-based learning, tying it in to real life.
Pear Tree does not provide tutoring. Alexis says, “It’s not meant to be a remedial centre, but we certainly allow students that are having learning problems to come to us. It’s meant to be more of an enhancement or an enrichment centre.” They offer after school classes, field trips, special workshops and day camps on a variety of topics for kids in grades 2-9. Their offerings cover a variety of topics including marine biology, green building, night creatures, sushi making and computer game design. All of their classes take a holistic approach, covering a wide variety of school subjects as they deliver the material.
Pear Tree is located in Kitsilano, but their field trips happen all across Metro Vancouver. They opened at the beginning of March, and when asked about some of the highlights they’ve experienced so far, they shared a recent field trip to release Coho salmon they’d raised in their classroom. They took them to Beaver Creek in Stanley Park for the release. Students received an in-depth workshop, giving them a chance to to learn more about the salmon, and they also had some time to explore the park. Kids living at the Union Gospel Mission attended, and Paul said, “Some of those kids had never even been [to Stanley Park] before.” Alexis called it, “A day of firsts.”
Pear Tree is still working on their summer camp offerings. They want to create programs with a purpose, so they’re taking time to craft their courses. To find out more about what they have to offer, and to hear about their summer camps as they become available, visit them online.