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Making Learning Visible – Helping to Build Confidence in Public Education

Sarah McNab – Manager of Communications, Education Centre – As a first-time parent, I find myself constantly amazed by my three-year old. Day-after-day she does something that makes me think, “WOW, I didn’t realize that someone HER age could be so funny, so perceptive, and/or so strong-willed.” I love watching her master something new “by herself”, whether its zipping up her winter coat, making it down WinSport’s bunny hill or learning to write her name in crayon. She’s so determined to get it right and won’t stop trying until she’s nailed it!

And while I take pride in her accomplishments, I am most proud of how kind and empathetic she is. She demonstrates a level of emotional intelligence that I never expected to see in someone so young, as evidenced by the care and attention she extends to other children, her dog Lulu and her family. But I worry that this disposition may fade as she transitions from her small, familiar day home to Kindergarten, where she’ll be exposed to new faces and external influences that could create anxiety or a change in behaviour. I also worry that when tasked with more difficult challenges, she may find less joy in trying and failing.

One thing that does offer reassurance is the knowledge that Rocky View Schools’ (RVS) teachers are guiding students to build their emotional intelligence and sense of resiliency. Thanks to RVS’ commitment to making learning visible, I’ve seen the various ways students are being supported and the opportunities they have to discover and connect with their passions. This in turn helps them derive more meaning from their learning and inspires a greater sense of confidence.

Through Board showcases, I’ve learned that improving mental wellness is top of mind for students as young as 12, that middle school students are committed to being changemakers (link to video below) and that Kindergarten students recognize that heroes come in all forms (link to video below). Often, I come away thinking, “I’m so impressed by how innovative, insightful, caring and/or collaborative these students are, especially at their age.” I’m inspired by how excited and proud they are of their learning, particularly when it has had a positive impact on others. And I know that a big part of this is thanks to the teachers who have led them through their discoveries.

Through various presentations and digital stories, I’ve also learned that RVS is helping ALL students achieve their potential by meeting them where they’re at and challenging them to do more. Students with complex needs are receiving much-needed supports to make the transition to adulthood more sustainable and meaningful. I’ve learned that sometimes, “It’s Not About the Lettuce” (link to video below), and that we have teachers who find ways to make school more engaging for all types of learners – even those who might be more comfortable learning on a farm (link to video below)!

So, although I have a couple more years before I’ll have to leave my pre-school bubble, I am confident that when my daughter does start school, it will be in a safe learning environment. Her innate sense of curiosity and intrinsic motivation will be nurtured, and she’ll learn how to remain optimistic even in the face of failure. I can’t wait to share in her learning journey and see what kind of unique contributions she’ll make to the world.

ChangeMakers Collective

Heroes and Helpers

It's Not About the Lettuce 

The Farm