Macdonald Campus welcomes the Class of 2027

Posted on Wednesday, October 16, 2013
Curious elementary schoolers overcome their squeamishness to get up close and personal with some giant insects. / Photo: Jacquie Rourke

Curious elementary schoolers overcome their squeamishness to get up close and personal with some giant insects. / Photo: Jacquie Rourke

By Kathy MacLean

The latest results of a cross-country science test show that Quebec students are falling behind many of their provincial counterparts in science. This was followed by a recent report from Le Conseil supérieur de l’éducation, that urges the Quebec Ministry of Education to place greater emphasis on teaching science in elementary school, and individual schools to establish links with organizations offering science outreach programs. Luckily, this plea has not fallen on deaf ears, as group of Macdonald Campus students and teachers from École Joseph-Henrico in Baie d’Urfe are working diligently to address this issue.

The Farm-to-School project, led by undergraduate students in McGill’s Faculty of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences in Ste-Anne-de-Bellevue, strives, through a series of educational workshops, to help schoolchildren make connections between the food they eat and the farms where food is grown. Workshops are structured to meet grade-level science competencies and are geared toward piquing children’s natural curiosity about the world around them.

Grade schoolers, and one pink leopard, discover what is growing at Macdonald Campus. / Photo: Jacquie Rourke

Grade schoolers, and one pink leopard, discover what is growing at Macdonald Campus. / Photo: Jacquie Rourke

A successful pitch to the Sustainability Projects Fund landed the group seed funding and the distinction of being the Fund’s 100th project. The team worked hard throughout the summer to create workshops, demonstration gardens and teaching materials under the supervision of Dr. Caroline Begg, who will be helping the group further develop its programming in a Special Topics course this year. Over the year’s Begg’s Topics courses have been incubators for some very successful initiatives including the Macdonald Student-Run Ecological Garden and the Out-of-the-Garden Project.

Over several recent sunny and warm fall days, two very large groups of Grade One and Two students from École Joseph-Henrico and École St-Remi visited the fields, laboratories and classrooms of the Macdonald Campus to participate in tailor-made gardening, insect and kitchen workshops.

Over the course of the workshops, it became clear that the students drew from their own experiences while making connections with the animators. During a session on aromatic herbs one child exclaimed, “it smells just like pizza.”

Students from École Joseph-Henrico in Baie d’Urfe get the lowdown on beekeeping. / Photo: Jacquie Rourke

Students from École Joseph-Henrico in Baie d’Urfe get the lowdown on beekeeping. / Photo: Jacquie Rourke

The children are not the only ones benefitting from the project, as the Mac students are reinforcing their own learning, gaining valuable skills as project managers, educators and communicators; skills that will be an asset to them in their future careers. Plans are already well underway for future workshops.

Of their visit, Nicole Theoret, lead teacher at École Joseph-Henrico, said “the children were wide-eyed when they were talking about their day. In fact two of the students have written in their journals that they want to study insects and gardens just like you.”

 

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Category: Around Campus

2 Responses to Macdonald Campus welcomes the Class of 2027

  1. mohamad masri says:

    tres tres tres bos

  2. Eric Bender says:

    One of my granddaughters was part of this cool tour at Mac. Experiential education at its best. Hope I’m around for her graduation in 2027!

    Kudos to McGill and École Joseph-Henrico for organizing such a meaningful event.

    Eric Bender
    B. Sc. 1966

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