Duncan J. Schoular Public School

Introduction

Our project

Learning through play creates value, excitement, and joy because you’re discovering as you go and do not need to worry about “checking the boxes”. The path is not yet visible, that’s where the excitement is! In learning through play, the emphasis is on learning (not knowing) where the learner is a creator throughout the learning adventure. This extends to teachers also. Learning through play provides an opportunity to reach out to the broader community. Students have a voice in their learning and show their strengths in different ways. Students see value and resources in their community and are also seen as a valuable resource to their community. Students recognize their own worth and see they have options. Students know they can impact their own education and feel encouraged and empowered bringing ideas to school. We are co-constructing our learning through play with students to enliven these ideas with and for them.

Tell us about your team and your school community.
We believe in hope as data. We witness the untapped potential of our students and nurture the human into the learning. Duncan J. Schoular is a school that serves as family for many of our students, and in this frame our purpose, our why, reaches beyond and includes learning that connects students to a future they have difficulty imagining. The learning experiences we are determined to develop culminate in our students saying, “I did this.” Our work is bringing the classroom beyond the walls of school to include all kinds of learning, collaborating with all kinds of teachers representing the community our students live within. Students will have an opportunity to demonstrate their learning by contributing to the community writ large, and in so doing imagining and shaping the world in which they live.

Tell us about the importance of learning through play for your team and for your students.
We recognize learning through play as an experience that emphasizes meaning and purpose and doing. Our learning culminates in pride generated from creative work, from things that our students have made with active minds and active hands. Learning is a tool that leads to inventing, and iterating, and collaborating in projects that make a difference to the learner, and the community. In this approach we discover the joy of learning that once tapped, begins to flourish. How we feel about our learning reflects how we feel about ourselves, and our lives. Our vision for learning through play contextualizes curriculum in a process that unlocks challenges students care about, and want to work on. The curriculum, in this way, is a toolbox rather than a road map. We begin with the question, “What if our learning could help just one person?” In so doing, we reach to spotlight a year’s growth, for a year’s input for the collective.

Tell us about your interest in joining the Canadian Playful Schools Network.
Our focus for this experience is connecting the school world with the real world, facilitating learning that connects our students with the Smiths Falls community. We hope to facilitate learning where our students are seen and see themselves as contributors to their community. A student that is well – that feels good about their learning and their life, that is healthy with a full belly of nutritious food, and that is rested physically, and emotionally – is primed for learning. Without wellness there can be no engagement in learning, and the subsequent academic achievement fails in turn. CPSN can support our work by helping the educators bring into focus the impact our work has on and for our students. Education is frenetic at the best of times, and all the educators in our school need an opportunity to know that our work and our efforts matter in the lives of our students.