Podcasts – featuring Q’shintul/Mill Bay Nature School


We have been honoured to be interviewed about this place, our journey, the logic behind our actions, as well as what's been a challenge and what's been a delight.

S3E07 – “A Joy-filled, Provocative, Collaborative Space: Mill Bay Nature School” with Kim Ondrik

For today’s episode we have Kim Ondrik, who is currently the Head Learner and co-creator of Mill Bay Nature School, an innovative school of School District 79 (Cowichan Valley) where children are centered and the B.C. curriculum is perceived as joy-filled, imaginative, and provocative. Even though it is not labelled a “C” community school, this seems to be an incredibly community-minded school, how it collaboratively and democratically functions, who it involves in learning, how it values the community and knows what the community adds to a student’s school experience, and more. We talk to her about the model of Mill Bay Nature School, how the Hul’qumi’num’ People inspired their teachings, the benefits of consensus learning, and more in this deeply rich episode.



42 – Decolonization, Love and Witnessing at Mill Bay Nature School – Pt. 1 (w Cayla Brown & Kim Ondrik)

In the simplest of terms, decolonization means moving from a triangle to a circle. From a hierarchy to a community. In the episode, Natalie joins the Head Learner of the Mill Bay Nature School, Kim Ondrik, and the Smuqw’a’ (middle years) Clan Leader, Cayla Brown, to learn how they are building a decolonized school together through love and witnessing.

Show Notes:

  • Telling the story of how Kim and Cayla taught me how to show up, even when I can’t control the outcome. (1:10)
  • Kim became an educator to try to change the system, but now finds herself leading the implementation of the British Columbia competency curriculum. (9:09)
  • Cayla’s journey as an educator began in Special Education, but she now finds herself having to unlearn to align her practice with her pedagogy. (14:36)
  • How Mill Bay Nature School is q’shintul (community) through a process of co-creation and the invitation for everyone to show up as their whole selves. (19:20)
  • What is meant by the phrase, “pedagogy from the inside out.” (25:03)
  • How the educators of Mill Bay Nature School are taking up the work of decolonization. (29:22)
  • What it means to “take it up.” (35:45)
  • The power of gathering and doing something together in the quest for sustainable change. (38:48)
  • Disrupting the “triangle” of hierarchy in the context of assessment. (54:00)
  • Removing the context of competition in assessment through the process of witnessing. (1:00:45)



42 – Intergenerational Learning, Sustainability, and Space at Mill Bay Nature School – Pt. 2 (w Cayla Brown & Kim Ondrik)

We’ve all heard the adage “with age comes wisdom” but what does it mean to be wise? If we view our work as educators through the lens of sustainability and legacy, the wisest thing we might do is lift up those younger than us to continue our work long after we are gone, especially in schools. In part two of Natalie’s conversation with Cayla Brown and Kim Ondrik, we unpack these ideas further before holding space for both guests to share their biggest wonders as they continue to co-create Mill Bay Nature School.

Show Notes:

  • Why might we take up intergenerational learning? (2:50)
  • Stepping into our collective capacity to be wise by looking for ways to uplift others, especially children. (10:40)
  • Does benign neglect create space and roominess for growth without the hindrance of pestering attention? And when or to whom might space imply dismissal? (22:30)
  • Biggest wonderings that both Cayla and Kim have while building a decolonized school. (33:35)
  • The purpose of education. (44:00)