One of our goals on our 2015/2016 School Education Plan, as well as part of our commitment to the IB, is finding ways to sustainably and authentically engage with our community, both locally and globally. To provide opportunities for our students to interact with the people in these communities, and know that their actions can make a noticeable impact for the betterment of every community.
We are seeking ways to network and create partnerships with community members, organizations and businesses and collaboratively think of creative ways we can work together to make Chestermere a better place than it already is. One initiative we’ve started up this year is Lunch Box Talks. An opportunity for students to work on many different skills when engaging in a conversation with an adult.
- Communication skills – active listening and participation in a discussion around a particular topic. Not only responding to questions, but asking your own to maintain a flow of conversation
- Networking skills – developing relationships to expand students resource bank when needing to access people in the future
- Social skills/professional skills – understanding the etiquette of a conversation, waiting for someone to finish speaking before taking your turn. The importance of eye contact and body language, firm handshakes to introduce and end the conversation
A grade 2 class participated in the #lunchboxtalks inaugural event in October, and this month, two grade 5 classes took the opportunity to meet with local community members to focus their conversation on community involvement and improvement. Ideas were shared, questions were brought up and everyone was engaged in a meaningful dialogue about how we can work together to continue to build Chestermere to be the best it can be. The feedback has been overwhelmingly positive; from community members, staff and students! Take a look at the reflections of 5T and 5W after their Lunch Box Talks last Friday.
We invite all of you to come and join us for a future Lunch Box Talks! Our next date is scheduled for January 22, and upcoming dates will be shared soon! If you are able to come out and have lunch with some of our students and engage in conversation while you lunch together, please contact Jen Friske (firstname.lastname@example.org). We’d love to have your voice be a part of the conversations!
While we encourage donations to our local food bank year-round to help support less fortunate families in our community, December is our month to make a big push for contributions. This year, our Grade 1’s have ramped it up a little bit by creating Christmas cards to give to the Food bank to include in their hampers that they will bring to families in need. Beyond the food bank, many other classes in the school are going to make Christmas cards to deliver to the doorsteps of the people who share the neighbourhood with us. A random act of surprise kindness for the residents of our neighbourhood to come home to, to show that we care and appreciate the community we live in.
Last Saturday was World Hello Day. On Friday, our school celebrated the occasion with a whole school assembly to share many of the languages that we use to say hello in our school.
In addition to our own ways of saying hello, Prairie Waters received a very special hello from half-way around the world, from Nakwamekwi High School. A school being built by past Rocky View School staff members in order to allow boys and girls from a very remote area of Turkana, Kenya to access secondary education (currently, less than 9% of the Kenyan population have completed their secondary education). Our school felt that this was a very worthwhile partnership to jump on board with to help support the construction of the school site. The project we have focused our support on is the construction of the school’s library and ICT lab. Through various fundraising initiatives that our student council will take leadership of this year, we hope to continue to raise funds for the construction team at NHS to complete the library and lab sometime in 2016. World Hello Day was a great way to kickstart our year of collaboration! We got a hello message from NHS
and we sent back our own video of the whole school waving and saying hello back to them via their Facebook Page.
Our first fundraising effort is a Book Swap! Quite fitting with our financial aid intended to build a library on the school grounds. Families have been asked to donate previously enjoyed books they have at home and on the evenings of learning conferences on December 2 and 3, the books will be sold for a buck a book. Families can enjoy some ‘new’ books to read at home, and the money raised will go to our partnership with NHS. We’re looking forward to our continued collaboration with the school, and hope that someday soon we can get some videos of the boys and girls at the school and some pictures or videos of the library that we have helped to build to deepen our relationship with this other community on the other side of the world. What better way to bring people together than sharing a love and value for access high quality books!
We’re off to a good start for engaging our community in a variety of partnerships! It will be exciting to see how those relationships blossom and flourish over the course of this year and into the future as well!