New Winnipeg play-based school explores self-directed learning
A small class of 15 students spends a lot of time each day on its feet.
Inspired Explorations Learning Community, or IELC, is a new school offering kindergarten to grade 3, where children are kept active as much as possible.
"All of the movement that we are doing is actually laying a foundation for them to be able to sit and listen," said director and teacher Bethany Beaudry.
She believes being active plays a major role in the brain development of a child. The former physical education teacher in the public school system started IELC in September.
She uses what she calls a holistic, play-based learning model, where students are encouraged to discover at their own pace.
"It's really getting into the play with them, to pull out what are they learning and they are learning all the time," Beaudry said.
The private school follows the curriculum set out by the province, but doesn’t use set classes or workbooks to teach lessons.
Instead, kids are taught movement-based activities to learn concepts.
The school has at least a 10 to one student to teacher ratio. Beaudry wanted it that way, so educators can stay more engaged with what the kids are interested in, as well as their emotional needs.
Beaudry said the kids are physically active for at least 90 minutes a day, while 30 of those are spent outside.
"It's always fun. My days are full of fun. I'm exhausted by the end, but it's great."
The kids in the inaugural class are eager to come to school each day to burn off energy.
"You get to play games and I like to play games," said five-year-old Thomas Dalman Betts. "I like to make crafts and I like to play with my friends.”
"It feels like energized and excited to be at school,” said five-year-old Gianluca Mancini.
Manitoba's physical education curriculum requires about 30 minutes of activity a day and wherever possible, movement-based learning is encouraged.
The Manitoba government also supports play-based learning in kindergarten.