Our play projects will be a mix of many different ideas. We want our students to have voice and choice as they explore with hands on and experiential learning. Our goals are to make use of the community experts in our area to enhance our level of play. The outdoors will play an important role as we target cross-curricular goals and we will look to mesh technology with art, drama, science, numeracy, and literacy. We hope to have both individual, small group, whole class, and whole school projects. It will be important to remain flexible, forgoing the traditional school schedule of siloed subjects, which will in turn increase engagement.
Tell us about your team and your school community.
Our School Team consists of 5 beginning to mid-career teachers for grades 3-5 and a vice principal. The team has French and English Prime teachers and two former subject experts for our district in numeracy, cross-curricular and personalized learning. Terry Fox Elementary student population is comprised of a variety of striving and thriving students. All students from grade 3-5 will be involved with our Team’s learning through play initiatives. Students with Educational assistants and behavioral plans will be as involved as all students. It is important that students achieve outcomes through inquiry and play, design thinking, and passion projects. Projects and programs that are cross curricular, hands-on and/or inquiry based where students had the opportunity to select a topic of learning and showcase to a broader community.
Tell us about the importance of learning through play for your team and for your students.
Play allows our student’s unique abilities and interests to shine through. When students participate in play, we notice engagement and achievement increase as they become more primed to learn. This approach is unique because our learning environment is not limited to four classroom walls. At Terry Fox Elementary, it includes the outdoors, the community and the people to ensure that learning is authentic and applicable to their own lives. The environment acts as the third teacher. We also value teaching the SDGs and climate citizenship. Learners take responsibility for their projects and in turn feel empowered to achieve their highest potential.
Tell us about your interest in joining the Canadian Playful Schools Network.
The team at TFES was very eager to join the CPSN because we are aware of the value play has to offer each and every student. We would like to be part of the movement to spread awareness by actively participating in research backed pedagogy. We are interested in learning about the most recent research through your professional learning opportunities and we look forward to the networking opportunities afforded to us with like-minded educators across Canada. These connections, as well as the resources that will be shared will help us build our own capacity as we dive in head-first. Our aim is to be leaders in playful schools and to share with other educators who see the value in re-imagining education. We feel fortunate that the students in Terry Fox’s upper elementary cohort will have positive impacts from our partnership with CPSN.