A cross-curricular project between St. Ann (Ancaster) Catholic Elementary School and Bishop Tonnos Catholic Secondary School is building new play-based learning opportunities.
Under the direction of Bishop Tonnos' Technological Department Head John Ivkovic, senior students enrolled in the Specialist High Skills Major (SHSM) construction class were involved in designing and constructing play enhancements – an outdoor mud kitchen, board game tables and benches – for their feeder school.
The project was made possible through SHSM funding, noted Secondary School Consultant Sarah Bereziuk.
"SHSM programs offer our Grade 11 and 12 students the opportunity to focus their learning on a career path that interests them,” said Bereziuk. “Students enrolled in a SHSM select a major based on an economic sector, and engage in sector-specific courses, training and experiences.”
Beginning last October, Ivkovic worked with Designated Early Childhood Educator Carolina Depaola and Special Education Resource Teacher Amy Matheson to bring their vision to life, based off Pinterest inspirations.
“When I introduced the project to my students, we looked at the tools and different specialized equipment we had that would allow us to put on those personal touches,” said Ivkovic.
For example, the knobs on the kitchen, he noted, were all 3D printed. The St. Ann logo was also etched on the backsplash of the kitchen.
“The game boards were etched by the students and include a checkerboard on one side and snakes and ladders on the other,” he added.
“This was actually something that Amy Matheson and I have wanted for years,” said Depaola. “We’re super pleased with how it turned out. The kids love it.”
“The smiles on the FDK children's faces have been priceless,” said Ivkovic, who delivered the project last spring.
“The students were more than willing to offer assistance as I was putting together the last few finishing touches...I'm not sure who had more fun. I'm confident that these features will provide additional opportunities for imaginative play and creative thinking. I have no doubt that the mud kitchen will be a huge hit and provide many teachable moments as an extension of the existing classrooms.”
“What is exceptional about this initiative is that SHSM construction students had the opportunity to apply their learning to a meaningful project that benefits the youngest students in their community,” said Bereziuk.
“This relationship-building activity also serves to demonstrate to the next generation of Bishop Tonnos students the incredible things they can learn and do when they reach secondary school."