St. Andrew’s Elementary

Introduction

Our project

Our project focuses on the connection with our school community and engaging both students and families in play. The focus would not be on any one particular item or activity, but a collection of resources, materials, and connections in the community that promote play for students and families. We will explore opportunities that are available in our community to engage families in play. Families would be invited to participate with students in activities with limited barriers that would be accessible. (Geocaching at a local park for example) Learning about games that families may play that are specific to a particular culture or the country that they have moved from. This could also provide an opportunity for us to connect with the Association for New Canadians and our newcomer families. We would host a celebration at our local community center showcasing our learning.

Tell us about your team and your school community.
St. Andrew’s Elementary is a K-5 school in St. John’s, NL. Our school is located in the center of the city with close proximity to Memorial University of Newfoundland and Labrador. We have a student population of 310 students. Our school community is very diverse with students and families from around the world. The diversity within our school is what makes St. Andrew’s such a special place where every child is celebrated. Our team is made up of our amazing Grade 5 teachers, School Based Reading Specialist, Teacher Librarian and our school Principal. Our school vision summarizes what is important to us, St. Andrew’s Elementary where we are safe, loved and learn together.

Tell us about the importance of learning through play for your team and for your students.
Learning through play provides a relaxed environment where children don’t even know that they’re learning! It helps the development of oral language by expanding students’ vocabulary and giving them a voice in their classroom and learning environment. This is particularly important for ESL students who can build their English through socializing with other students. For new Canadians, it teaches them what play and collaboration looks like. When learning through play, everyone is on the same level and they’re all learning from each other. The school has a high number of ESL/new Canadian students and play can teach them how to interact and work with their peers, while building their English oral language. Learning through play provides students with an opportunity/experience they wouldn’t otherwise have. This will uncover skills that students may not have realized they had!

Tell us about your interest in joining the Canadian Playful Schools Network.
As a team we hope to have an opportunity to connect and collaborate with other teams from schools around the country. We hope to be able to provide our students and families with opportunities that they may not otherwise have while engaging in play. Our hope is that our involvement with the CPSN will help to build and strengthen the connection and relationships within our school community. Not only the connection between school and home but between families and children as well. CPSN can support us by providing the opportunity for collaboration and play exploration throughout the school year and our project.