Written by Darryl Seguin, Superintendent
Reprinted with permission of The Lethbridge Herald
When you think of the word ‘education,’ what comes to mind: school buildings, desks, computers, teachers at the whiteboard? Perhaps you remember the band room or shop class. Did you ever smile at the Friday dismissal bell, grateful school was over and you were done learning until Monday? As a child, I may have been guilty a time or two of that last one. Over the years, however, I have come to understand that learning doesn’t end with a school bell and that education extends well beyond the formal school setting.
One of our core values at Livingstone Range School Division is Place-Based learning. This involves experiential learning within local communities and environments. We have a ski academy based out of Livingstone School in Lundbreck that capitalizes on the incredible learning opportunities of the West Castle area and gives students a chance to improve ski skills, learn about tourism, environmental studies, avalanche safety, first aid, and more. Pincher Creek hosts “Day on the Creek,” an outdoor education experience that inspires students to get involved in environmental learning and stewardship. These are just two examples of the many opportunities students have to increase their education and learn from their surrounding communities.
The comprehensive education of children has been at the forefront of my mind for many years. I am grateful for amazing education professionals who do so much to provide learning opportunities both inside and outside the classroom setting whether it be through athletics, arts, CTS or community-based programs. I am equally grateful for the learning opportunities provided by parents and caregivers and I would like to share some ideas on how to support continued learning and education outside of the classroom.
When my sons were young, we would often play the “guessing animal game” while travelling. The rules were simple: one person chose an animal and the rest of us could ask yes, or no questions to figure out what the animal was. Our four-year-old was tricky. We asked: does it fly? No. Does it walk? No. Does it swim, crawl, slither? Nope, Nope, Nope. Many questions later, it turned out his animal was a one-legged chicken! That poor chicken has since been the punchline of many jokes, but my sons learned about numerous unique animals thanks to that game.
While cooking, my 8-year-old niece decided to double the recipe. Under the guidance of her mom, she had the opportunity to learn a valuable life skill and to improve her understanding of fractions as she increased the ¼ cup measurement to ½ cup. Another niece serves in a leadership role in a youth group. She writes agendas, conducts meetings, plans, and carries out activities.
Education and learning can and should continue for our entire lives. Take advantage of the time you have with your children to learn through everyday activities. You can take your children geo-caching; they will learn about numbers, mapping, and GPS. Go for a hike and study local vegetation. Have a family dance night and learn about rhythm, sound, and movement. Are you doing home repairs or fixing the car? Invite your children to help and let them do more than just “hold the light.”
Inspire them to love learning; make it fun. Give them the confidence to try and teach them that failure is just another opportunity to learn.