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IDLC People

Island Discovery Learning Community

Teachers and Support Staff

  • Allan Saugstad
  • Amy Nosek
  • Lori Stringer
  • Skylar Freeborn
  • Cara Felde
  • Amanda Jones
  • Laura O’Neill
  • Gillian Bentall
  • Saffron Gurney
  • Larissa Korns
  • David Graves

2013-2014 Planning Council

  • Heather Kerr
  • Bonita Schaly
  • Melissa Harrison
  • Gustaaf Tasseron
  • Christina Atkinson
  • Gail Lotenberg
  • Cheryl Cook

Contact Us at IDLC

Island Discovery Learning Community

Island Discovery Learning Community
889 Cowan Point Drive
Bowen Island, BC

Telephone: 604-947-0700
Fax: 604-947-0717

If you wish to learn more about our program, need help with registration or have a general inquiry feel free to contact our founder and Program Director Allan Saugstad at: 604-992-2370 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..


Island Discovery Learning Community
  1. Participation in a part-time classroom program
  2. Full Time Homelearning (FTHL)

Classroom programs meet only part-time, and are only available in communities where we have ample enrollment. Please enquire for more information if this program interests you!

Enrollment in both programs happens throughout the year, from September to June. In order to be accepted into either program, an interview needs to take place with the family, in order to ensure that our program will work for you, and all registrations forms need to be complete, according to the registration checklist. The forms can be found under registration, or here:

Registration Form | Registration Checklist

For the part-time classroom programs, new students are only accepted if there is room in the class and if it can be determined that it is a suitable fit for your child.

Please click on the boxes below for more information about either program.

Full-Time Home Learning

Island Discovery Learning Community

We look forward to helping support you and your home learning journey. We work with a wide variety of families, from those who like a very child-centered philosophy to those who like the stability of a more structured approach.

The teachers at Island Discovery are all B.C. Certified, and we all have a deep belief in the power of homeschooling. Many of us, me included, have homeschooled our own kids, and we have seen first-hand that when a child learns through self-direction and attachment, they grow to be very productive and engaged learners, as well as confident and happy people.

Our program was started 12 years ago by a group of parents just like you, for the same reasons you have chosen to homeschool. We like to think of ourselves as homeschooling people helping other homeschooling people. We hope to establish a relationship with you where you feel like we are working alongside you to help your child thrive this year, socially, academically, and emotionally, too.

Learning Plans

Island Discovery Learning CommunityEach family is responsible for following the B.C. Curriculum. You will need to follow a certified learning plan, created by your teacher, with input from you. In late August (or soon after you register), we will send an email to you explaining the details of this learning plan. Then, in early September, a meeting will be set up where the learning plan will be discussed and finalized. This must be completed, signed, and on file before September 30th, or else we cannot enrol your child in our program.

There will be ample opportunity to customize the plan to suit the interests of your child! We understand that when children follow their passions, it is incredible how much and how quickly they can learn. During the year, it is inevitable that changes will need to be made to the plan as emerging interests and ideas come forth, which is totally fine, so don't worry that we need to figure out the entire year in advance.

Contact, Assessment and Reporting

The teacher will be available to either meet live, or by email or phone, at any time of the year. We want you to feel supported, especially when you are feeling unsure about how things are going. We will always promptly return your emails or calls, usually within 24 hrs. It is important that we touch base with you at least once a month. Please never feel shy about contacting us if you need help.

After the learning plan meeting in early September, we will follow up with you in early October to see how you are doing with implementing your learning plan, just like when a server at a restaurant comes to check on you after you have received your food. We want you to feel like you are off and running, and are happy with how things are going. At this time, we will also ask for a writing sample from each child and we will complete a series of checklists to determine some baseline data on the ability levels of your child in various subject areas. This can all be done very gently, without making your child feel they are being “tested” by a stranger, mostly be looking at their work and discussing their abilities with you.

At the end of each term, the teacher will meet with you to discuss progress to date, and to hear about all the learning adventures you have been having at home and in the community. After this meeting the teacher will create a report card. Reports are done in early December, March, and June. During these check-ins, we will also need to discuss progress related to Daily Physical Activity and second language for those in grades 5-9.

We try our best to make this process as helpful and as non-intrusive as we can, so that it feels like a worthwhile experience to you. We believe that the most important thing is that we use these times to simply celebrate the child for who they are and what they have done, rather than making them feel insecure or inadequate in any way :)


We offer individualized funds for each child, which can be used for classes and materials. This money can be accessed after September 1st, with spending done directly by us. All spending needs to be approved by one of our teachers before monies are spent. Please contact us to find out what the current amounts are per child.

There are three ways to access these funds.

  1. School credit card – online or phone purchases can be made by us using our school credit card. This is a quick and easy way for us to purchase things for you very quickly.
  2. Cheques – we can write cheques for materials or classes if we receive a properly filled out invoice from the service provider or business.
  3. Store accounts – we have a number of accounts at shops in your area, where you can pick up materials for learning at home.

We try to approve and make purchases for you very quickly, usually within a day or two. Please note that the end-of-year deadline is April 30th.

There is also additional funding available for other things, including online subscriptions, and group purchases. After you enrol, you will receive more information and details about all of this in our Financial Handbook.

Classroom Program

Island Discovery Learning Community

Island Discovery empowers families to set up and operate (in partnership with us) their own learning communities based on our attachment philosophy and the interests of your own community, family, and children. If there are enough kids enrolled in a community who want this, we will hire a teacher or teachers to support these classes locally and set up funding for resources and supplies, too.

Founding Principles

A number of founding principles guided the initial design of the program, and continue to inform the long term planning for the program as well as day-to-day decisions.


The teacher, parent and child are partners working together to develop and support a learning plan for the child and to provide/engage in enriching learning experiences for the child. Parents and children are also part of the process of evaluating learning that has taken place. Teachers, parents and children are partners in running and supporting this program. We each have specific roles and responsibilities as well as a shared sense of enriching the program and building a healthy learning community together.

Inviting Learning and Engaging Curiosity

Island Discovery Learning CommunityChildren will be invited and encouraged to participate through the enthusiasm, engagement and skilled leadership of the teachers and mentors. Children will not be forced to participate or to 'learn'. Instead, teachers build on and engage the children's natural curiosity and joy of learning and build and support critical thinking skills. In our classes, learning as something we do with the children rather than to them. It is our experience that when children are invited to participate and truly experience partnership in learning – they flourish – intellectually, emotionally and socially. Children experience the classes as a place of exploration, a place to share feelings and ideas, a safe and exciting place where each child is recognized and valued. This teaching approach provides an education that prepares children to continue to enjoy and have success in learning throughout their lives. They also learn to relate well to others and themselves, be creative, flexible and venturesome and have empathy for others.


Island Discovery Learning CommunityWe aim to respect each person's feelings and individuality as we interact and work together (adults and children alike). We also respect the integrity of each person and their individual learning styles and differences. This is reflected in Individualized learning plans and appropriate learning support in the way that each child is taught, heard and evaluated. Each person is treated with empathy and caring by teachers, parents and each other. Our goal is to do this, and to model and teach these skills to the children and ourselves. Conflict resolution processes are based on respect for all involved and on building positive skills for all involved.

Parent Participation

Parent Participation is a key element of the program, both for practical and philosophical reasons. Parent help in the classroom allows for small group focused activity and allows the teacher more energy to focus on the children. Parent involvement in the classroom also helps to create mentoring relationships for the children with adults other than their parents and a stronger sense of community. This also allows parents to have a direct experience of their children's learning in the classroom and a deeper understanding of the classroom program, which enables them to more deeply support their own child's learning and more fully participate in the conversations about program development. In addition to scheduled “parent helper days” parents are always welcome to spend time in classes.

Home Learning (and learning in the wide world)

Island Discovery Learning CommunityThe time spent outside the class is a valued part of the child's learning experience, and parents engage in supporting their children's learning at home and in the community. Families have freedom to approach this part of the program in a way that suits the learning styles and interests of the child. Teachers will provide guidance for creating learning plans and for record keeping requirements.


We value the role of family involvement in a child's learning and healthy development. We also value the ways that a community of families can support each other, both practically and by enriching the mentorship and learning opportunities available to our children. This value is reflected in welcoming parents in the classroom; providing time for family involvement in each child's learning plan; involving families in the running of the classes; partnership in developing learning plans and evaluation; and in including families in special events, celebrations, (some) fieldtrips and workshops.

Small Group Learning

Island Discovery Learning CommunityOur group size is kept small (13 or less) in order to allow for a calm, focused atmosphere, lots of teacher attention and the chance for a high level of discussion and hands on work. It also allows the teacher to connect with each child and build strong relationships and a deeper understanding of and support for unique learning styles.

Multi-age Setting

In order to create a socially and developmentally healthy learning environment and to allow each child to experience themselves both as a mentor and as a learner (both proven to be key elements of deeper learning), the classroom groupings cover an age range of 2-4 years. This also allows the teacher to group children based on readiness rather than age. Smaller group activity ensures that all ages are appropriately challenged.

Optional Attendance

Children are invited to attend the classes at scheduled times. They may (in consultation with parents) choose to attend less, or miss class-time when they are pursuing other interests. Commitment for specific lengths of time may be required to take part in some classroom activities in order for groups to work together effectively.

Part-time classroom component

Island Discovery Learning CommunityEach student is invited to attend classroom time part time, rather than 5 days a week. This allows for small group focused classroom learning where more children are likely to bring their full attention and enthusiasm to group learning. It also allows families to meet the unique needs and interests of their child outside of the program time – making for a more meaningful, Individualized learning experience for each child. From a program planning perspective it allows us each to meet our own family needs without trying to build a program that tries to "do it all" for everyone.

Community Partnerships/Mentors

We understand that our community is rich with real-life experiences and mentors with specialized areas of expertise. Involvement in and connection with our wider community provides children and families with an invaluable resource for learning. Finding ways for our children to contribute to our community builds a strong sense of confidence and responsibility as well as hands on, real life experience as citizens.

Learning Plans

In our model, these classes are only part of the comprehensive learning which happens at home and in the community. Each family is responsible for following the B.C. Curriculum, and will need to follow a certified learning plan, created by your teacher, with input from you. Much of the learning plan will involve activities planned by the teacher during her time together with the children, but will be complemented by things you do at home. In September a meeting will be set up where the learning plan will be discussed and finalized. The teacher will give you an overview of things they will be doing in class, and a clear guideline as to how you can complement the class time with work at home in order to create a comprehensive curriculum for your child. There will be ample opportunity to customize the plan to suit the interests of your child! We understand that when children follow their passions, it is incredible how much and how quickly they can learn.

Assessment and Reporting

Because your child will be seeing a teacher at least once every week, most on-going assessment can easily be done by the teacher during class time, mostly through observation, portfolio assessment, and discussion, especially since classes are small and the teacher will have developed a close relationship with your child. The teacher will also be available to meet before or after class to help you with the learning at home, and to share feedback about how things are going. Of course you are always welcome to attend class sessions at any time, too. Doing so can give you a clear indication of your child's progress in all areas.

At the end of each term, the teacher will meet with you to discuss progress to date, and to hear about all the learning adventures you have been having at home and in the community. After this meeting the teacher will finalize a report card. Reports are done in early December, March, and June.

More Articles ...

  1. Program Foundation