The experiences kids have during Kindergarten help set the stage for a lifetime of learning. “If they love school at the beginning then they’re off to a good start,” says Sylvie Copland, a JK-SK French Immersion teacher at St. Catherine Catholic Elementary School in Peterborough, Ont. “We want them to love learning and to love coming to school.”
Copland and her RECE (a former student) work hard to ensure that’s the case every child in the class. “We’re a great team so it’s a lot of fun.” In Kindergarten, the new program is focused on inquiries, explains Copland who says it provides the opportunity to teach children based on their interests. “We look at what the children are interested in and we go from there.” Focusing on their interests helps motivate and engage them, she says.
Along with teaching them the various components of the curriculum, Copland wants to see her students thrive in other ways as well. “I want them to become the best people they can be. I want them to love each other, to love their neighbours and help those in need.”
Giving to others is something that plays a big role both within her classroom and the school as a whole. Along with helping people locally, one of the school’s biggest initiatives has been the sponsoring of two children in Africa. The program arose from a trip to Uganda and Kenya taken by Copland three years. “I went because I was sponsoring a child from Kenya with my husband,” she says. As amazing as it was to meet her sponsor child, the trip was also an eye opener. “It broke my heart to see children who don’t have food or clothing,” she says, adding they were missing other life necessities as well. The seed was planted. “When I came back, I asked our principal if we could do something to help and that’s where sponsoring the children came from.”
A teacher for the last 26 years, four of them teaching Kindergarten, Copland says she appreciates how terrific her young students are. “They love everything!” When one of the school’s sponsored children celebrated a birthday during the school year, Copland’s class was very excited to send birthday cards, she says. “They’re very enthusiastic at that age!”