École Élémentaire Catholique St. Michel [FR]

Introduction

Our project

Our project is an open greenhouse agriculture project where students will grow vegetables that will be sold as a monetary or food donation to the community. The objectives touch on many aspects of the language arts, math, science and technology and geography curricula. We would like to use technology (microbits) to measure soil moisture levels, write letters of request to community members, make phone calls to learn information, learn how to ask questions during presentations or tours, etc. It is also hoped to better model active collaboration, daily communication in the French language, as well as allow for situations that encourage youth leadership. In addition, a huge goal is to provide many different opportunities for youth to discover the strengths they can bring to this project. We plan to accomplish these goals by making visits to the greenhouses (learn how to choose and plant certain seeds, etc), have special guests (technology link and agriculture link), visit the community center, etc.

Tell us about your team and your school community.
Our team is composed of 6 very committed members. Mrs. Michelle Renaud-Coulter is the principal at St-Michel School, she is passionate about inquiry-based learning and enabling students to learn through play. Mrs. Micheline Nouhra is the school’s accompanist. She works in collaboration with the classroom teachers to provide coaching that meets the goals of improving student achievement. Mrs. Shelby Quick and Mrs. Melanie Wolters are the middle team, working together for 4 years. Both are passionate about leadership as well as allowing their students to see the value of curriculum as it relates to their lives outside of the classroom. Ms. Gisele and Ms. Jessica are the middle team and have been working together for 3 years. They are passionate about teaching through play as well as teaching authentic situations relevant to the students’ lives. Our town, Leamington, Ontario, is known for its greenhouses and agriculture in North America. Our community is very multicultural. In the eyes of our community, it is important to respect and represent our roots and what makes us the incredible community that we are.

Tell us about the importance of learning through play for your team and for your students.
We find that learning through play is very important for our students, as they will have the opportunity to manipulate, move, build and move around which seems to help them learn and understand better. This type of learning also emphasizes questioning, so that students think, learn to reason and find solutions for themselves. They become active learners and in charge of their own learning. We strongly believe that by giving students the choice to do tasks based on their strengths, to engage in authentic investigations and projects, they will become budding learners. This too increases motivation, creativity, self-confidence and encourages potential interactions with young people to create a fun experience. Teaching through play simply makes teaching more playful so that learning is more fun, varied and engaging for students.

Tell us about your interest in joining the Canadian Playful Schools Network.
We decided to join the CPSN to bring play-based learning to older children and to have authentic experiences in partnership with our community. As a team, we want to connect with the community as well as with each other and our class teachers, collaborate with community organizations as well as other teams, deepen our technological knowledge with coding, deepen our knowledge of the greenhouses (e.g. how they work), and work on 21st century skills. The network can support and guide us with project content.