Every year, the Grade 4, 5 and 6 classes at Assiniboia Park Elementary School take part in a nationwide educational initiative known as Heritage Fair. The project, which involves the students researching and presenting topics, is both lived, and dreaded, by students and parents alike, but in the end, it is generally seen as a rewarding, and extremely educational endeavour.
“While the focus is about Canada, we let students explore a topic that may have some personal connection,” explained Tammy Manning. She is a Grade 5 teacher at Assiniboia Park. “It might be a family history, it might be a favourite hockey player. Basically, anything that has to do with heritage in Canada is one of those topics that we’d like to encourage here at our school.”
How the project is presented can let the students uniquely explore the curriculum, added Manning, and they can work at their own pace, covering things at their level so they can feel the success and achievement when they finish the project.
For the students at Assiniboia Park, the fair itself, which will be held on Thursday, is the culmination of hours of work. They spend the time researching the project, and then preparing the boards used for the exhibition. Each of the boards is like a little pavilion, where the student will answer questions and provide further information about the topic when asked.
This week, the students have been presenting the heritage fairs to their peers in the same class, then Thursday will be the time they get to showcase their hard work to others.
“Each class from Grade 4 to Grade 6 will be judged by a series of judges who will then determine who gets to go on,” Manning explained. The top presentations not only get top marks, but could go on to the regional Heritage Fair held in the spring, and from there, the chance to be selected as part of Canada’s History Young Citizens program, and from there, could go on to a Youth Forum in Ottawa hosted by Canada’s History Society.
After the judges, who this year will include former participants of the Heritage Fair themselves, and are now in Grade 12 at Weyburn Comprehensive School, go through the fair, then the other students at Assiniboia Park will get the opportunity to see the presentations.
“Then, in the evening, we’re actually having an open house for parents and family members and community members from 6:30 p.m. till 7:30 p.m., and at this time, we encourage everyone to come and look and see what the students have learned, and how they’ve presented their information,” Manning said.