Blog Post from Community School Coordinator, Sarah Haxby
The BICS Grandfriends program has run at BICS for twenty-four years and each year it seeks to activate the community school principle of taking the students out into the community and bringing the community into the school by making social connections, sharing activities, games and stories together and learning from each other in new ways.
Part of the B.C. curriculum Positive Personal & Cultural Identity is defined as the set of abilities that relate to students’ identity in the world, both as individuals and as members of their community and society. The Grandfriends program this year has helped to make students and members of the community 55+ feel like individuals and members of the community. Students have gone to Bowen Court to share songs, stories and activities, and Grandfriends have come to BICS to help students learn how to sew mittens as part of a textile hand-made versus machine-made project, as well as with reading and having tea and doing activities together. The Grandfriends program activates BC curriculum as well as the BICS school goals to R.O.A.R. by practicing being responsible, open, ambitious and resilient.
Watching students age 11 or twelve listening respectfully to their Grandfriend who is in their eighties, and enthusiastically asking more questions, or watching Grandfriends threading needles and helping students age six and seven to learn a skill like sewing, or reading a book in the library together, one cannot help but see how the Grandfriends and the students light up around each other. The empathy and understanding that is generated by intergenerational conversations and sharing of knowledge, songs, stories and smiles is priceless.
The Grandfriend program runs throughout the school year and is open to all BICS students in kindergarten to grade seven, and to all Bowen Island Community members age 55+.
To get involved, contact Sarah Haxby, Community School Coordinator, firstname.lastname@example.org, 604 947-0389.