It’s likely the 21 students in Melanie Penner’s combined Grade 1 and 2 class know more about Headingley than most adult residents of the area do.
Their knowledge of the community is on display in a book entitled, We Live in Headingley, which is now in Phoenix School’s library.
Penner said the idea for the class project began with her desire to make the curriculum more relevant for her young students. This is also her first year of teaching at the Headingley school, and she realized there are important characteristics of the community for students to discover.
She and her students embarked on their project by renting a bus and travelling to various local destinations, including Shelmerdine Winnipeg Garden Centre, Breezy Bend Country Club, Assiniboia Downs, the Headingley RCMP detachment and RM of Headingley offices.
As well as taking photos at their tour stops, the students asked lots of questions.
"They were really inquisitive," said parent volunteer Claudette Kartinen.
At the municipal office, the students learned about the RM’s responsibilities to look after water, roads, snow removal, garbage and recycling, the Headingley Community Centre, the Headingley Library and local fire hall.
"The facts they learned there really piqued their interest," Penner said.
In addition to using the information and photos they gathered on their tour to write their book, Penner also gave each student a homework assignment asking each to focus on one specific aspect of life in Headingley and come up with three facts about it.
Every student created one page in the book, using digital or hand-sketched pictures to illustrate their page. Topics included Headingley’s history, government, emergency and community services along with the businesses they toured.
Even though she’s lived in Headingley for almost 17 years, Kartinen said her daughter and the other students provided her with plenty of new information on the community.
Phoenix principal Lisa White said the experience was a rewarding one for the students.
"Not only did they learn many important pieces of information about their local community, they also ended up creating a beautiful book to be proud of," she said.
The class project didn’t end there. The students also wrote and recorded the song I Love Headingley with the help of Winnipeg singer and songwriter, Harmony Parent. The song is about being a good citizen.
Penner said her students performed their song and displayed the book at a school assembly with others students, parents, and staff on Nov. 27.
She added that her class plans to continue exploring their local environment in the new year by focussing on Headingley’s physical features such as its river system and also important people, places and events.
They will have an opportunity to do an activity that reflects their own family culture.