December’s Awesome Ottawa award goes to Marianna Connors to build community between two elementary schools in the east end of the city – “where COVID has stolen it away.”
“Our school, Le Phare Elementary,” explains Marianna, “shares a catchment area with Carson Grove Elementary. Both schools feed into the same middle school and share a lot of neighbourhood similarities. Our schools are partners. We are collaborators and neighbours. Both schools have a rich and engaged student body and teaching team — brilliant, creative, conscientious, and compassionate. Each school reflects a bright and diverse range of cultures that should have a space to share and learn together.”
“COVID has broken the children,” she says. “They have lost so much. Opportunities to learn through play, to engage, to grow through shared experience and shine their bright lights through joint activities. Our two schools have been isolated from one another – and worse, each class cohort has been isolated within itself. And even worse, if that’s possible, individual children have been isolated from each other.”
“Rebuilding our children’s connections relies on us, as school communities and parents and teachers, to make new links and create new opportunities for kids to share and grow together.”
“We plan to create a kids’ community culture exchange – an active interaction between our two school communities,” Marianna continues. “This would see each school choose up to three cultural gifts or activities, and share them with the other. This could be books, a virtual speaker or event, an art exchange, or some other creative children’s idea that we as boring adults can’t even conceive of. The objective is to get the children involved in connecting, in creative and adapted ways — to build community where it has been stifled for so long.”
Marianna is Chair of the Le Phare Elementary School Council.
Funded by Ottawa, ON (December 2021)