search icon

Alternative Programs

Elmwood School offers two Programs of Choice for students: the Sciences Program and, beginning in the 2021/22 school year, the Chinese Bilingual Program.





Sciences Program

"The important thing is to never stop questioning. Curiosity has its own reason for existing.”

~Albert Einstein

Learning through Inquiry

Inquiry engages learners in a dynamic process of being open to wonder as they come to know and understand the world around them. As a way of learning, inquiry is woven throughout all aspects of life and is essential to the way in which knowledge is constructed.

In the Sciences Program, students work collaboratively to explore new concepts and deepen their learning in the sciences. They pose questions, research, explore, solve problems and make claims based on relevant evidence. Learning outcomes across the curriculum are carefully woven together to shape authentic and diverse learning tasks with real world connections.

As student interest is foundational to success in learning, teachers support students in designing inquiry projects linked to curricula. For example: All students are expected to learn about life-cycles in Grade 3. Rather than all learning about the same animal, students in this program investigate an animal that inspires their interest. In order to deepen learning as well as explore scientific practices, part of the inquiry would involve bringing in animals to study, posing questions, finding answers and observing and classifying different animals (insects, mammals, fish). It could involve working alongside scientists who study animals or going on location to examine the habitats of different animals. Students, on a field trip or an outing with their family, will make connections between the inquiries at school and the world around them. Out of the wealth of information gathered, the students, with the support of their teacher, peers, and family, engage in critical thinking, making reasoned judgments and drawing conclusions. Ultimately, students gain a much deeper understanding of how knowledge is created in the science community.

Literacy through Scientific Inquiry

Inquiry based learning naturally enhances the development of literacy skills and places emphasis on  the communication of ideas throughout the learning process. Reading and writing is the foundation to all scientific literacy learning and is nurtured at both school and home. Using reading, writing, and a variety of technologies is critical to the development of multiple literacies and is vital to an inquiry-based approach to learning. Students are supported and encouraged to become confident, capable and responsible users of information. This includes:

  • Interpreting tables, graphs & diagrams
  • Filtering information on the internet
  • Gathering relevant resources from the library
  • Interviewing significant individuals
  • Accessing home and community sources of information

At the completion of an inquiry project, students communicate what they have learned using a variety of multimedia formats, including:

  • Technology (photography, SMARTboards, video, google applications, SeeSaw, etc.)
  • Models and diagrams
  • Written reports
  • Artwork
  • Engaging videos and interactive websites

Reflection is an integral part of inquiry and often leads to new inquiries, discoveries, curiousities, wonders and learning goals.

Student Characteristics

There are some common characteristics which are evident in students who learn best through science inquiry and project-based learning. These include some or all of the following:

  • Imagination and curiosity
  • Flexible thinking
  • Strength in collaborating and communicating ideas
  • Ability to work independently and interdependently in diverse group settings
  • Persistence—the drive to understand the world
  • Creative and critical thinker
  • Socially skilled
  • Adaptable to change 
  • Open to working with a variety of tools, technologies, methods and sources
  • Perseverance when faced with new challenges
  • Passionate about animals and the environment
  • Think with their words, their drawings, their heads and their hearts

We encourage families to reflect on these characteristics and engage in discussions with school staff to help determine whether an inquiry approach to learning is appropriate for their child. 













Chinese Bilingual Program

Come to Elmwood and join a Division-wide program with over 35 years of proven results and an opportunity to continue student learning from Kindergarten all the way to Grade 12! There is no previous knowledge of Mandarin Chinese necessary to attend. Please call the school to inquire about registering your child in our Chinese Bilingual program for the next school year!

We are excited to add the Chinese Bilingual Program to Elmwood's already superb school culture.

Benefits of learning Mandarin Chinese:

      Students benefit from learning a second or additional language as it:

  • Promotes problem solving, flexibility and creative thinking abilities
  • Encourages students to be global citizens
  • Enhances empathy and awareness of diversity and a greater sense of social justice
  • Expands career and travel options

Instructional Focus:  

Students in the Chinese bilingual program benefit from : 

  • An immersive experience with 50% of instruction in Mandarin Chinese and 50% in English 
  • A high degree of proficiency in the language 

Learning Environment:  

We offer to students of all ability levels :

  • A supportive, warm environment that invites risk taking and expression as students acquire language skills
  • Opportunities to experience Chinese culture in the school and larger community
  • Authentic language learning opportunities


Please follow the links below for a comprehensive explanation of the program, general information, and registration procedures:

Edmonton Public Schools Chinese Bilingual Kindergarten General Information Video

EPSB Chinese Bilingual Kindergarten Information Package