Lisa Hitch: Instilling curiosity and a desire to keep discovering

Year: 2018 – Province: British Columbia

Prime Minister's Award for Teaching Excellence in STEM

Lisa Hitch

Sunrise Waldorf School
2148 Lakeside Road
Duncan, BC V9L 6M3

School telephone: 250-743-7253
School website:


Subjects and grades taught: English, Science, Math, Geography, Language Arts, History and Performing Arts, grades 1–8

Staying with one class from Grade 1 to Grade 8 has given Lisa Hitch the chance to develop a deep understanding of her students' needs and gifts. And, even though she works at a "low-tech school"—no computers in class—she recognizes that children need to learn to be good and smart digital citizens.

Teaching approach

Taking off from her own burning curiosity, Lisa Hitch uses inquiry-based methods to help students find the extraordinary in the ordinary. They learn to gather, process and analyze information, moving from wonder to observation to concepts, and develop the grit necessary to take risks and problem solve together through hands-on experiences.

STEM in the Classroom

  • Fosters information literacy through Cyber Civics, a digital literacy program Lisa brought to the school: students learn how to retrieve, analyze and use online information, including how to critically evaluate search results and properly cite sources
  • Stresses digital citizenship: after screening a film about growing up in a digital age, students discuss precautions for creating a digital identity; to encourage the support of parents in this area, Lisa sends home related parent-child activities and leads forums during parent-child evenings
  • Employs everyday curiosity to relate science to life: students pursue answers to questions—How does a bicycle work? What makes a submarine sink?—with simple experiments requiring detailed observation, and report their finds with drawings, poems and songs

Outstanding achievements

  • Creates opportunities for risk-taking as a component of innovation and participates fully in her students' adventures, including surfing, rappelling down cliffs and backpacking through storms
  • Is playing instrumental role in adapting school's program to the new B.C. curriculum, which mirrors in many ways how she has been teaching for a number of years
  • Singled out during accreditation visits by the B.C. Ministry of Education and the North American Waldorf school association as an "extraordinarily gifted teacher"

Rave reviews

"Lisa Hitch is a legend in her school. She is loved for her personality—empathic, fair, and playful; appreciated for her commitment—teaching the same students for eight years with unflagging purpose; and respected for her values—environmentalism, social justice, and gender equality."