In the past year, I have witnessed or taken part in many conversations about education and schooling in Prince Edward Island- from one end of the island to the other. These conversations sent a strong and clear message that the education of our young people is a No. 1 priority for Islanders.
Even during times of change, it is critical that childrens’ learning continues to be the primary focus of all the players in our education system.
In recognition of the excellent work of students, the P.E.I. Home and School Federation awards prizes in two provincial fairs. This years’ winners of the Family Heritage Fair Prize at the P.E.I. Heritage Fair are: “Yeo Shipbuilders” by Will Yeo (L.M. Montgomery Elementary, grade 5) and “The Outlaws in my Lineage” by Nicolas Dickieson (Immanuel Christian School, grade 7).
The winners of the best projects that focus on the total well-being of children at the P.E.I. Science Fair were Christianne Riveroll (Grace Christian School, grade 7) and Brittany Pollock (Stratford Elementary School, grade 5). Christianne examined the role of stress on grades and found that negative stressors had a negative effect on academic performance, while positive stressors improved academic performance. Brittany showed clearly that for students in her class, eating breakfast definitely helped students perform better in school.
The federation will continue to do its’ work of bringing people together around the common vision of an excellent education system, with the education and well-being of each Island child at the centre. At the local level, we work to strengthen local home and school associations and support their work in their schools and communities.
June is an excellent time for locals to hold elections and to prepare work for the Fall. The federation is available to provide leadership training, facilitate meetings, and to help bring people together around common goals and visions. On a larger scale, we attend annual meetings with representatives from the four maritime provinces as the Atlantic Caucus of Home and School Associations.
Work within this organization can influence priorities at a national level. The discussion this year focused on the need for more supports for mental health for young people, access to healthy food in schools and the important role of collaboration in education.
In the midst of the debate about education and the uncertainly that change inevitably brings to our lives, it is important to celebrate the people who make a difference every day in our schools and bring stability to the lives of Island children. The P.E.I. Home and School Federation School Bus Drivers of the Year and the Crossing Guard of the Year will be presented later this month.
In the weeks to come the federation will be busy planning training workshops, the fall semi-annual meeting, and the 2018 AGM. Policies and documents produced from the annual meeting as guidance for our work in the 2017-2018 school year. The focus will be on cultivating collaborative practices, designing a provincial school food strategy, and as always, advocating for the well-being of all Island children. All federation policies can be found at: www.peihsf.ca.
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Home and School and You is written by Lisa MacDougall, President of the PEI Home and School Federation, lives in North Rustico with her husband and two children. Her column appears in The Guardian during the school year on the first Thursday of the month.