Winner of 2005 Museums -
Schools Partnership Award
Students learn from hands-on classes
at London museum
April 12, 2006 - For Immediate Release
OTTAWA - A hands-on educational program that provided elementary
schoolchildren with the opportunity to learn at museum sites in
London, Ontario has earned the third annual Museums-Schools Partnership
Award. This national award is co-sponsored by the Canadian College
of Teachers (CCT) and the Canadian Museum of Nature (CMN), in collaboration
with the Canadian Museums Association. An honourable mention was
awarded to a collaboration in St. Laurent, Quebec where students
learned about Quebec culture through the study of traditional crafts.
The inaugural London Museum School project hosted seven classes
from Grades 3 through 7 from the Thames Valley District School Board
and the London District Catholic School Board. Each class spent
an entire week at one of the four museums: Museum London, Fanshawe
Pioneer Village, the London Regional Children's Museum, and The
Canadian Medical Hall of Fame (teamed with the Robarts Research
Institute). Students explored hands-on activities, learned from
exhibits, then documented their experiences though journal writing.
These journals provided an opportunity for student reflection and
were used to evaluate the students' learning.
"It was incredible how much they learned, and how mature and
insightful they became during the project," says Pamela Mills,
co-ordinator for the project. Flexibility in the program ensured
that individual needs were met and that activities fully engaged
the students. The results showed dramatic increases in student performance.
"Their excitement about what they were doing was refreshing
and it was reflected in the quality of the work," Mills explains,
citing the example of one Grade 3 student who studied an "awesome"
Inuit exhibit and said she learned a "gazillion facts"
despite the fact that she didn't consider it work.
"This was an ambitious project that has benefits for both
the schools and the museums," says Mary Ellen Herbert, award
co-ordinator and Manager of Community Services with the CMN. "The
judges were impressed that the students got a better understanding
of the role of museums. And museum staff in turn
had an extended period to work with teachers and students, much
more than is normally available through day visits." The judging
committee also commended the solid community base for the project,
which included 75 adult volunteers.
An honourable mention for the 2005 Museums-School Award was given
to "Je laisse des traces", a partnership between the MusÉe
des maîtres et artisans du QuÉbec and L'École
Laurentide in St.-Laurent, Quebec. This pilot project was developed
for a class of third-year students, almost all of whom came from
recent immigrant families, to feel a closer connection to Quebec
history and culture through the study of traditional crafts. Families
were included in school and museum activities, which were based
on the museum's exhibits and collections. A final exhibition included
a large sculpture of an open book incorporating the students' writings
and self-portraits. The committee was impressed with the pride with
which this pilot project was presented and was pleased to learn
that it will be extended to 10 schools.
The judging committee for the 2005 award sifted through submissions
representing more than 20 institutions from across the country,
for projects that joined museums with schools, school boards and
school districts. The award recognizes partnerships between schools
and museums for educational programs that enrich students' understanding
and appreciation of Canada's cultural and natural heritage.
Projects were assessed on a number of criteria including their
vision, participation of all partners from the start, collaboration
potential and relevance of the project to the community served.
"The range of projects is impressive, and all were creative
projects that helped instill in students a sense of their Canadian
heritage and identity," added Sadiq Awan, past National President
of the CCT.
The Museums-Schools Partnership Award is open to any Canadian school
or school board that collaborates with any Canadian non-profit public
museum, including zoos and science centres. The submission deadline
for the 2006 award is Nov.15, 2006. For more information, visit
the Web site of the Canadian College of Teachers at www.cct-cce.com.
For more information about the projects, to obtain
photos or to arrange interviews, please contact:
Senior Media Relations Officer
Canadian Museum of Nature
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