Published: Feb 2, 2024

Around the district is a monthly update that includes a collection of stories from Richmond schools. These stories highlight Richmond's vibrant learning community, which fosters student engagement, creativity, and well-being in inclusive learning environments.

A captivating tale spanning different primary grades unfolded at one of our schools. Students from kindergarten to Grade 3 gathered in the gym to explore the theme of belonging and community through the book "The Big Umbrella" by Juniper Bates and Amy June Bates.

Inspired by the narrative, these young hearts shared ways to care for one another, and embodied values of friendship and kindness. The story became a guiding principle — under the big umbrella of compassion, there's room for everyone.

A special moment arose when a perceptive kindergarten student, gazing at the school's pine tree, exclaimed, "It's like the big umbrella — there's room for all of us." This simple yet profound observation captures the spirit of inclusivity, affirming that, just like the big umbrella, ur community embraces and welcomes every individual.

The Big Umbrella

Within the vibrant halls our secondary schools, students unveiled an impressive showcase of artistic brilliance.

In a 2D art drawing class (Grades 10-12), the focus was on self-expression as students created captivating self-portraits. Using acrylic paint and displaying a keen mastery of tints and shades within a complementary colour scheme, they created a breathtaking collection that put a spotlight on their artistic skills.

Meanwhile, across the artistic landscape in a Grade 8 class, inspiration flowed from the works of BC artist Ted Harrison. Immersed in the study of cool and warm colour schemes, coupled with acrylic paint techniques, these budding artists translated their acquired skills into mesmerizing landscapes. Embodying the spirit of Harrison's artistry, each element in the landscape underwent deconstruction into fundamental shapes, resulting in a harmonious fusion of artistic interpretation and technical expertise.

Student art portraits and artistic landscape paintings

In a district-wide initiative, students immersed themselves in the engaging Salmonids in the Classroom program, supported by the Department of Fisheries and Oceans Canada. This hands-on learning experience provided students with a unique opportunity to nurture the entire salmon lifecycle within the confines of their classroom.

From the captivating moment of hatching to the eventual release, students actively participated in each lifecycle stage. This included hands-on activities such as dissections, habitat caretaking, and a comprehensive research project. The initiative not only deepened their understanding of salmonids but also imparted practical lessons in aquarium maintenance.

Showcasing their diverse talents, students presented habitat models using platforms like Minecraft or by creating dioramas. Alongside the story, visual snapshots captured the students' progress, offering a glimpse into their immersive learning experience.

A particularly noteworthy moment of the project had students don the hats of virtual real estate agents, creatively designing and "selling" salmon streams as if they were apartments. The class will celebrate the successful release of the fish in White Rock this March.

Salmonids in the Classroom program

While embarking on a connectivity mission, a secondary school eco team shared their insights on sustainability with some of our youngest learners. Driven by student-led and student-guided principles, this initiative aimed to instill a sense of environmental responsibility and awareness.

In alignment with our district’s commitment to sustainability, the eco team organized workshops with kindergarten and Grade 2/3 classes. Through these engaging sessions, students were empowered to create holiday decorations using newspaper, and develop meal plans to avoid food waste.

More than an educational endeavor, this experience served as a wonderful opportunity to connect with the community and inspire young minds to take meaningful actions for a sustainable future.

Students making holiday decorations with recycled materials

The spirit of recycling came to life during a workshop attended by 85 students and parents. Together, they collaborated on crafting two paper mâché sturgeons, using bottles, styrofoam, cardboard, paints, and an array of recycled materials. 

The driving force behind this initiative was a dedicated student who successfully secured $500 through the Richmond Cares, Richmond Gives' Youth Neighbourhood Small Grant. Her passion for promoting recycling and engaging the community was evident in her leadership.

The choice of the sturgeon for this project was intentional, drawing a connection to Richmond and highlighting its vulnerability to water pollution. The workshop became a platform for educating participants on sturgeon conservation, emphasizing the urgent need for recycling and environmental stewardship in light of plastic pollution. This creative endeavour created a sense of community and instilled a commitment to environmental responsibility.

Students and parents making paper mache sturgeons using recycled materials

Amidst the enchanting snowy landscapes, our young learners embraced the chance to blend play with education, creating a winter wonderland of fun. By bringing the snow indoors, they transformed ordinary plates into magical canvases, crafting snowy art scenes with bears, penguins and decorative snowflakes.

In another classroom, the magic of snow painting unfolded, igniting students' curiosity as they explored the snow's texture and the vibrant hues of poured paints on a pile of snow. The result was a vibrant display of color mixing, while turning the ordinary into a visually captivating experience.

These artistic ventures sparked joy and provided opportunities for imaginative expression within the nurturing environment of our early learning classes. The exploration of winter themes undoubtedly created an atmosphere of excitement and wonder, making snowy days a magical journey for our little learners.

Young kids creating art scenes in the classroom with recently-fallen snow

In an exciting educational adventure, students eagerly dived into the thrilling world of coding. Under the guidance of the district's curriculum coordinator for technology, they immersed themselves in a captivating session with OctoStudio, a recently released coding app. This innovative tool unlocked a world of possibilities and provided students with a platform to unleash their creativity by crafting engaging digital stories.

Coding is a powerful tool. It empowers our students with essential computer skills and hones their abilities in sequencing, counting, problem-solving, logical thinking, cause and effect, and critical thinking. This hands-on experience not only introduces foundational skills but also acts as a gateway for creative expression, enabling our students to bring their imaginative ideas to life.

Moreover, coding evolves into a collaborative endeavour, fostering teamwork and preparing students for future challenges. The enthusiasm among our students is obvious as they eagerly await upcoming lessons that will dive even deeper into the exciting world of coding!

A group of students and their teacher in a classroom learning about coding