Birch Hills Public School

Introduction

Our project

Looks Like : A flexible outdoor learning space for multiple grade levels. The learning space will have flexible seating options, garden boxes, flower beds, trees, fire pit, storage shed, patio, skating rink, and bike racks. Goals : To create a flexible outdoor learning space that is usable for all four seasons we encounter during the school year in Saskatchewan. The space will be designed, constructed, repurposed, rebuilt, and maintained each school year by and for middle years’ students. How : Design and create this space with the Grade 4, 5 and 6 students with the support of the high school Practical and Applied students and teachers. Work with the School division facilities department for support in the building of the outdoor learning space. We will invite community members, elders, and knowledge keepers to provide input and support with the project as well.

Tell us about your team and your school community.
Our team consists of three middle years teachers, two support teachers, one division coach, and two administrators from a K-12 school. Students who attend BHPS are from the community, small communities in close radius to Birch Hills, and live on a family farms or acreages nearby. There are diverse cultural backgrounds represented within our student population, which include First Nation and Metis students. In Grades K – 6 students are assigned to a homeroom teacher as a homogeneous group based on their grade and in Grades 7 – 12 students are assigned to a teacher for each subject. There are between 20 – 30 students enrolled in each grade level. At BHPS we focus on providing opportunities for students in and out of the classroom that build skills that supports them as engaged members of their school community.

Tell us about the importance of learning through play for your team and for your students.

  • Use play as a way of responding to the Truth & Reconciliation calls to action by acknowledging and preserving culture and traditions through land-based learning.
  • Play based learning strategies are responsive to students’ holistic needs. Really good for students who benefit from learning hands-on: trial and error process.
  • Create a learning environment that requires collaboration, a trial and error process, critical thinking, hands on learning, and product-based initiatives.
  • Student engagement has a positive impact on student behaviours.

Tell us about your interest in joining the Canadian Playful Schools Network.
We are in our second year of delivering a play-based learning environment for students in grades K-6. We are excited to be part of this network to grow our understanding of play-based learning, connect with teachers/schools across Canada, and develop a project that will be part of our play-based learning program each year. One type of support we are hoping to gain from the CPSN network is access to renewable resources for teachers to use with students in the play based learning environment. We also look forward to connecting with experts of this field during the network activities throughout this school year.