Eaton School Sunwest

Introduction

Our project

Our teams primary focus is to create spaces that are alive! Empowerment, autonomy, and community is paramount with our school team’s pedagogy. Our goal is to make learning accessible to all within our spaces. One learning environment would be our Spartan Outdoor Space, this space allows students to explore art, wellness, construction, environmental science, horticulture, and honors our rural agricultural community. This project has allowed us to enrich our teaching beyond the four walls of a classroom. Since 60% of our students are naturalistic learners, our focus will be to finalize our outdoor space with a theatre, solar panels, musical instruments, greenhouse and celebrate the community who helped us build this space with a “Farm to Table” experience. This will allow us to address our student’s wellness, socio-emotional growth, and empower students to share knowledge. We want to address the whole child with a holistic approach to education.

Tell us about your team and your school community.
We live in rural Saskatchewan, in a bigger than life town called Eatonia. Population of the town is 500 and surrounding farms also match this, whilst the school has 135 students. Our small town is like being with family; everyone knows each other, supports one another, and the people showcase compassionate and big hearts. These values are rooted in the foundation of our multigrade K-12 school in Sunwest School Division. Our small school has 19 stellar staff with only 8 classroom-based teachers, of which 5 of us collaborated on this CPSN journey. Collaboration is at the heart of many projects within the school and as a team we are better together. Our strengths enhance learning with Clint’s curiosity, Megan’s organizational skills, Nichole’s creativity, Lisa as our leader, as well as Shelley’s inclusiveness and thoughtfulness. Collectively we believe in opening the doors to alternative opportunities for play-based learning as this allows students to be more attentive and productive.

Tell us about the importance of learning through play for your team and for your students.
Spartan staff believe that all students CAN be empowered to showcase their strengths and capacity for learning. Our task as educators is to build relationships that inform this learning and provide opportunities to make learning accessible for all. Our Spartan Outdoor Space is a showcase of this approach to holistic education. With the support of our community this space had allowed us to continue honoring student voice, where learning is natural, creative and authentic. This space is alive with learning and allows all stakeholders to address social-emotional growth, wellness and empower them share their knowledge. There is no greater award then seeing a child harvest a crop, grow vegetables, and apply math or science skills in a real-life scenario. Outdoor education allows this. We believe that learning through play allows students, staff, and community to take risks, improve wellness, and invites opportunities for social interaction as well as collaboration.

Tell us about your interest in joining the Canadian Playful Schools Network.
We believe that CPSN could support our team by providing us access to experts in the field of makerspace, green spaces, agriculture and outdoor education. In developing an outdoor theatre, we are unsure where we can acquire the resources to make this possible. As a team, we also look forward to connecting and collaborating with other teachers. This will allow us to continue creating spaces that are alive with learning. As a rural school, it is exciting to see what other Canadian schools are doing. The possibilities in our eyes are truly endless. We look forward to meeting all of you and exciting you with the possibilities of outdoor education.