St. Anne Elementary School


Our project

Our group has the common goal of having our play projects be experience-based. We want to give our students the opportunity to get out of our classroom and into the community, making the connection to land and playing outdoors. By creating memorable experiences, it will also encourage them to spend more time outside and appreciate the possibilities that exist in the natural green spaces. Taking meaningful, curriculum connected field trips will help our students feel engaged in what we are doing and provide them with chances to play and explore. We have brainstormed a number of outdoor experiences in and around our city, such as Wanuskewin Heritage Park, Canoeing, Saskatoon Soccer Centre, Moose Jaw Tunnels, Eagle Creek, and orienteering in neighbouring parks. During the winter months, our play-based projects consist of activities such as SaskCode, Gymblast, Saskatoon Soccer Centre, Western Development Museum, and opportunities to build and create with various mediums and materials.

Tell us about your team and your school community.
Our team at St. Anne consists of four middle years teachers, Dustin Kasun is our Vice-Principal and grade 8 teacher, Megan Tyson is our grade 6/7 teacher, Valerie Favreau is our release teacher and Alison Kovach is our grade 5/6 teacher. We have a wide range of ethnicity and socioeconomics. Many of our parents are involved in our school on a regular basis and we are a school that welcomes guests, parents, and volunteers. Our school’s inquiry learning encourages collaboration both on the instructional and learning fronts. Our team collaborates and shares ideas, information, resources, etc. with one another while students collaborate through questioning practices, project work and presentations. Inquiry blends well with the goals set out by CPSN. By empowering student choice and voice, students take active roles in the learning process.

Tell us about the importance of learning through play for your team and for your students.
Embedding play within the educational experience has immense benefits for both our teachers and students. Teachers are often focused on tackling the challenges of curriculum achievement, an expansion of needs within the classroom and a ‘do more with less’ political climate. Infusing ‘play’ throughout units of study encourages each of our teachers to expand our pedagogical priorities to include fun, playful moments for our students. There are incredible mental health benefits associated with these efforts. For our students, if learning can include fun, playful moments, it becomes memorable. Engagement levels increase and creativity flows as students shift from passive to active participants in their learning process. Interpersonal trust strengthens as each class builds in relationship through each play-based moment. Students become excited to come to school and overall school spirit rises.

Tell us about your interest in joining the Canadian Playful Schools Network.
We are very excited and grateful for the opportunity to join the Canadian Playful Schools Network. As a team we are looking forward to the opportunity to collaborate with one another, to seek and understand new ways of enhancing our instruction and challenging our pedagogical approaches. As a team, we hope to gain a deeper understanding of the different ways we can enhance the curriculum by moving our learning outdoors and to the community at large. We hope to access new resources and engage in professional development opportunities which broaden our knowledge and understanding of what play can look like within the middle years learning environment. We also aspire to provide our students with unique and positive learning experiences. Ones that reignite their collaborative, creative, and curious minds, while also nurturing their mental health.