There are so many ingredients that go into raising and educating a child. At one time – a simpler time, no doubt – children had the run of the entire village, and later the neighbourhood, from which to learn.
Then fear set in as isolated, but scary cases of sociopathy & other individual pathologies moved in. The neighbourhood, while still familiar and generally still the domain of children, no longer serves as the safe spatial crucible it once did.
So how do we rebuild community in a way that is both safe and provides our children the opportunity to learn from the broader skill set in our community?
I know some might say that the school cannot and should not take on the role of integrating the child’s entire educative experience – that families often provide exrtra-curriculur activitites for their children and that there are community groups filling in the gaps for those offered fewer opportunities.
So what is the role of our school division and your Ward 7 trustee in facilitating a broader learning experience? How can we as a community draw on the resources that our schools and the grounds they sit on can provide?
For me it’s a two-part answer, and I plan to explore these avenues as a school trustee.
1. Better use of our schools and schoolyards off-hours & off-season. There is a lot of talent & knowledge in our local community. Let’s connect schools with the broader community to get community gardens going that can be maintained over summer. And instead of relying on gas-burning trucks to come pick up our compost, let’s have schools & communities work together on shared compost projects.
As for evenings when the schools are not being used for school activities, how about community-led classes on everything from language learning to practical hands-on skills like canning/pickling, crafting, D.I.Y.soap-making etc?
As your trustee I will liaise with organizations organizing skills training, such as Transition Winnipeg.
2. High School students in the community / more co-op education. It’s a fact: not every student graduating from high school will go to university, and many will go straight into the workforce. Many will struggle to find meaningful employment, including being stuck in minimum wage McJobs. We should ensure all students leave high school with some experience on their resumes. By grade 12, students could spend up to 1 day/cycle working in the community: at small businesses, with non-profits, at local media outlets, at the univesities, etc.
I think there is a place for the school division to look into such internship and apprenticeship programs, realizing the potential such community-based learning could hold for students’ development, but also in giving high school students a stronger feeling of belonging to the community.
Some students struggle with academics but thrive when working with their hands. Others thrive at academics. Through skilled coordination between the two forms of learning, our schools can better meet the needs of all students, & I believe this can be done without sacrificing academics.
I hope to hear from you about these ideas. Through holding 4 public town halls on our education system per year, I aim to hear people’s perspectives on what is working, what is not, & the best way to transform our education system to meet the coming economic and social challenges in which our students find themselves immersed.