Earlier this week Robert Ogilvie Preschool had an opportunity to visit the Aqua Van ( the Vancouver Aquarium comes in and presents its wonders to the schools, through a traveling van). This being a great opportunity for the children to see some aquatic animals they might not have ever had the chance to see, we thought it would be awesome to invite Duncan Cran Preschool to join us on this adventure.
But you just can’t ask a whole class to hop on the city bus and come for a half hour… So Lana and myself decided to plan a whole field trip around this event. This would include a ride to RO on the city bus, the Aquarium presentation, free play time in the RO preschool room and snack before leaving and calling it a day.
Now its been a few years since I was in school and “awhile” since I was in preschool myself, but I don’t remember ever having the chance to visit another class in a whole different school.
Would this had made a difference on how I viewed school?
Now don’t get me wrong, I’m fully aware of classes Skyping other classes in different parts of the province, country and some in other parts of the world, for cross border projects. I’m also aware of growing up in a small town about the same size of Fort St John and feeling a competitive vibe coming from other elementary schools. Once I made it to Jr High, there was this great divide between the other Jr high in our community. Children did not talk or interact with the “Rival” school. Why?
What made us have this opinion of each other?
Was it because we only came together during competitive sports events?
Now here’s a word: “Community.”
Â This is a word that school districts around the province have been striving to make a mission statement Â in their schools. Making our children have a sense of community towards their own school, thus making them better students and members of the community.
What a better way of doing this but by starting with our early learners, and showing them that we have “friends” in many schools. Â Taking them to each said school, having them feel welcome and comfortable in that school just as they were there and attending. Â Meeting on a regular basis and allowing true friendships to happen.
What a better way to do this then through “play”.
So we planned and what Lana and I saw was amazing… The children quickly grew comfortable with each other and played together like they had been attending school along side of one another all year.
This got both teachers thinking. What if next year with our preschool classes, we made at least four “field trips” into each others classes. Working on the premises that we could grow friendships and community between the two schools.
As you look at the pictures below you will see the children learning and playing with out biases of “whose from which school”. Lana and I may have started a new Inquiry for next year and we will keep you posted on the planned visits for next year.
To say we are excited is an understatement.
Here’s to hopping that this initiative starts a trend for community building in our school district.