Students at Mountview Elementary School are eagerly learning about reading, writing, and arithmetic, but they are also learning how to respect others and how to be independent thinkers.
Mountview’s kindergarten teacher Wendy Bernier says students in her class are learning many different skills, including how to make bird houses, as well as pottery — thanks to a partnership with potter Leslie Lloyd.
“School isn’t just about reading and writing,” Bernier says. “I teach them to be resourceful and to do things themselves.”
She said students also work in partners, which teaches them to share, to help each other, and to be sensitive to others.
Twice a week, Mountview students enjoy the Farm to School program, in which more than 160 students participate. The students meet in the gym and enjoy a freshly made lunch that includes locally grown foods thanks to a partnership with the Williams Lake Food Policy Council.
Tatjana Bates, Interior Health dietitian and chair of the Williams Lake Food Policy Council, says the program gives students the opportunity to learn about their local food system and where their food comes from. It also aims to increase fruit and vegetable consumption, improves student knowledge about local foods and the link to nutrition and health, supports local farmers and the local food economy, and builds a strong sustainable community.
It also brings the students together in a fun atmosphere, so students aren’t restricted to mingling with just those in the same grade.
“It brings everybody together — students, teachers and all support staff,” Bernier said.
Other activities students enjoy are pumpkin carving and making music.
For example, Bernier brought hand chimes into her class and was thrilled at how the students responded.
“They learned how to play Twinkle in just a few minutes,” she said.
Students also learn computer skills, and some are especially enthusiastic about playing with an IPad, which is used as a tool to teach them about letters and numbers through learning games.
Children are also encouraged to learn on their own, so the teacher becomes more of a facilitator than just an instructor.
Individualized learning is also key, since not all children learn the same way.
Bernier stresses that students learn best if their parents are involved in their education.
“Parent support is the biggest thing,” Bernier said. “It’s a triangle that needs to work.”
Many students interviewed by the Tribune said they have enjoyed working on various art projects. Grade 3 student Adanna Nustad, 9, said she enjoyed showing her art to other children.
Elizabeth Roux, 8, who is also in Grade 3, said she has also learned handwriting skills this year and has enjoyed working on various art projects, while Grade 1 student Trinity Roux, 7, said she enjoyed social studies.
Grade 1 student Austin Waters, 7, has been enjoying science.
“We learned a lot about numbers, bugs, and shapes,” Austin said.
“We do lots of math,” said Grade 1 student Ryder Rochefort, 7, when asked what he has enjoyed at school this year.
In recent weeks, students worked diligently to create advertisements for the Tribune’s Salute to Education feature of this section of the paper. They learned how to create an ad from information provided, which was a great learning experience.