The winter months can often be a drag for students.
The days are long, the weather is dreary, and a break from lessons is seemingly nowhere in sight.
But at Unity Christian elementary, the staff believes they’ve come up with a surefire way to combat those dreary days of January.
Every other year the school holds a week-long educational unit that gets kids out of their classrooms and into a creative mindset.
This year, it was all about the fine arts.
Last week, the school’s hallways and classrooms were aflutter with kids in smocks, quick-moving hands, wild laughter and breath-catching gasps of awe.
From Monday to Thursday, students were divided into mixed grade level groups and spent the afternoons creating rainmakers, greeting cards, and alligators out of egg cartons. They danced, painted murals on the concrete walls, weaved bookmarks. and performed The Paper Bag Princess in a reader’s theatre style.
“It’s the perfect time of year for us to do this,” said school principal Ed Noot. “It provides us all with a fun and engaging time of learning that breaks some of the regular routines and the regular curriculum.”
The students weren’t complaining.
Grade 3 student Abigail van der Watt, who’s the youngest in her family, loved that that she was the oldest in the primary mixed groups, and was given big kid responsibilities like accompanying a younger student to the water fountain.
Grade 5 student Amma van der Watt, who painted a butterfly mural with two other girls, loved that it didn’t feel like work, even though she knew she was still learning.
Grade 1 student Austen Kooyman loved the fun of it all.
“I’m making a rain stick,” he said, as his voice grew louder with excitement. “It’s an instrument and it makes the sound of rain when you go like this.”
He grasped onto an imaginary stick and with an exaggerated flick of his arm turned it upside down.
The one-week unit is also an opportunity for students to intermingle with different age groups.
“The goal is to have students explore a topic that is of high interest and to re-group our school into family groupings,” said Noot. “It’s not a typical classroom setting, we’ve got older and younger students intermingling. It’s great to see the kids helping each other out.”
But, despite the week of fun-filled, workshop-based activities there was still one complaint:
Grade 3 student Justin Kooyman was not happy he had to dance with the girls.