The Guam Guam Specums program is a unique program in partnership with School District 61 (SD61). It aims to support mostly Indigenous students’ social and emotional well-being and engagement in the school environment. It is designed for students who would benefit from an opportunity to participate with peers, school staff, and strong mentors as they build relationships, explore nature, and make cultural connections. The model is to incorporate the program into the school day and, in doing so, assist students in building positive associations with school staff and peers while enhancing their emotional and social well-being.  Guam Guam Specums runs in three schools: Craigflower Elementary School, Shoreline Middle School, and Rockheights Middle School. School staff, HNCS facilitators, and students work together to determine which students would benefit most from the program as participants. 

Program Goals: 

  • To support the promotion and enhancement of positive mental health outcomes amongst  vulnerable Indigenous and non Indigenous students who are struggling with social isolation  through Indigenous Ways of Knowing and nature-based practices;
  • Opportunities to collaborate and connect with community elders and traditional Coast Salish  knowledge holders who can guide, support and ensure cultural competency and adherence to  relevant practices and protocols;
  • Focus on improving practical coping skills, social/emotional development, and overall resilience.
  • To enhance students’ connection with themselves, nature, peers, and the broader school  community.


The curriculum was adapted from the circle of courage work of Dr. Martin Brokenleg and colleagues  (Reclaiming youth at risk: Futures of promise, 2019) which focuses on helping students to develop four  core attributes. 1) belonging, 2) mastery, 3) independence, and 4) generosity. Further, Nature-based  Therapy: A practitioner’s guide to working outdoors with children, youth and families (2019) and  Coyote’s Guide to Connecting with Nature (2010) informed key parts of the curriculum. Heather Quaite is the lead facilitator of the Guam Guam Specums program – read more about her here. 

Heather Quaite

We are grateful for the generous funding support from the Peter Gilgan Foundation and School District 61, which makes this program possible.

Program Information



Program Facilitators

Heather Quaite

Registration Information

Registration for this program is within the school system.

For more information, please contact Zahura at [email protected]