From February 3 to 5, 2016, the Grade 2 class from École St. Thomas d’Aquin in Medicine Hat were on campus taking part in a community classroom. Over seven instructors and staff from the college volunteered their time to provide a variety of learning opportunities ranging from robotics to human anatomy.
Jennifer Holowachuk, part-time instructor in the Division of Science & Health, explains that during the coordination of these sessions, there was no shortage of staff and faculty interested in getting involved.
“Community classrooms are a great way to build an engaging and eye-opening experience for young students. They are a creative way to spark their imaginations and expose them to a variety of topics in different settings,” says Holowachuk.
Holowachuk believes that there is a long-term relationship that is built when students are brought onto campus at an early age.
“Although they aren’t necessarily thinking long-term in regards to what career they may pursue, we are essentially planting a seed, showing them that there’s a variety of options in many fields,” says Holowachuk. “It’s also an amazing feeling as an instructor to see their reaction as they are examining an insect up close or learning different varieties of wild animals and how to track them using their footprints and/or droppings.”
“The College offers several learning opportunities that our students may not have had if we didn’t visit campus; as it just isn’t something that is in the Grade 2 curriculum,” says Kennedy. “As a result, it was a fantastic learning opportunity as it provided them an opportunity to have access to some of the same equipment that college students do. This is an experience that they will remember well into the future, and maybe for the rest of their lives.”
MHC is one of several community classrooms in the region; others include destinations like Cypress Hills, Medalta and the Esplanade.
Kennedy explains that the College was a way for his school to “get their feet wet” and that he already has other teachers looking at planning similar excursions.
“I really just want to thank the College for making this a positive experience for myself and the students,” says Kennedy. “Everyone was really enthusiastic about sharing their knowledge and equipment with the students. They really created a positive environment, and a memorable field trip for us.”
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