Our learning through play project is to break down barriers for marginalized groups such as our students in the 2SLGBTQIA+ community. When students come to school with the opportunity to create without judgment, a sense of pride, freedom and acceptance is established. We want to give our students the opportunity to extend their play through writing and recording a song with Canadian superstar, Kellie Loder, who is also a member and advocate for the 2SLGBTQIA+ community. The theme would be diversity, inclusion and acceptance. Our goals are to integrate technology and promote ‘making’ in a diverse school community. We want to encourage other teachers to become involved in using various technologies and engage students in learning through play; learning that is ongoing and relevant. Students would then use their video creation skills to accompany the song using WeVideo, as well as their own wearable art using Cricut technology.
Tell us about your team and your school community.
The Vanier team consists of Tina Maloney (School Principal), Jillian Gallant (Teacher-Librarian/Instructional Resource Teacher), Alison Parrell (Grade 4 English Teacher) and Ashleigh Hudson (Grade 4 French Immersion Teacher). We are a small school of approximately 280 students, located in Newfoundland and Labrador’s capital city of St. John’s. We are a K-6 dual track school – English and French Immersion. As an urban school, our demographics are quite diverse. We have students from Newfoundland and Labrador, but we also have 23 other countries and cultures represented in our school including a significant population of ESL New Canadians. Our school community feels it is important to become a green school using the outdoors as a learning playground. We use digital forms of technology to engage students to learn in fun inclusive ways so they enjoy coming to school in a welcoming environment where self-motivated learning through play is a focus.
Tell us about the importance of learning through play for your team and for your students.
Learning through play is very important because of its inclusivity. We view play as a universal language and see the importance of experiential learning. Our vision is that through storytelling, song, and video creation (and by incorporating technology), we will facilitate a low floor, high ceiling opportunity for our students. We have a group of very diverse students who speak various languages, who are also coming with a variety of experience and expertise. Our collective experience as teachers, has shown us that this project will bring much joy, new skills, collaboration, and an appreciation for all members of our school community. No child will be left behind, as we work towards celebrating each student’s culture, individual expression, and diversity.
Tell us about your interest in joining the Canadian Playful Schools Network.
We are interested in joining the Canadian Playful Schools Network so we can learn from other school communities and their diverse group of teachers and students. It’s exciting to have this opportunity to expand and share knowledge with teachers and educators across the country. We as a team have much to share, with our knowledge of various technologies, passion projects, Makerspace and outdoor initiatives. We also want to gain the expertise of other Playful Schools so we can grow and expand on these ideas with members of our team and school community. To have learning sessions with a web of professionals will be rewarding and a great support. There’s comfort in knowing that a team of like-minded individuals is available to discuss ideas and offer suggestions. As our goal develops, we feel the students and staff at Vanier will be encouraged to learn through fun and enjoyment. Let’s play!