Mountain View Matters


Today, fostering strong connections between schools and the community is crucial for the development of students. Understanding this, Gilbert Plains Elementary (GPE) has undertaken various initiatives to enhance community engagement and create meaningful learning experiences for our students. By exploring various programs and events, GPE has demonstrated the positive impact of community involvement on education. Below, we will highlight several community connections:

Seniors Are Cool

The "Seniors Are Cool" program at GPE brings together senior citizens and fifth- and sixth-grade students. This intergenerational initiative aims to bridge the generation gap by promoting understanding, empathy, and respect between the elderly and young learners. Through regular interactions, the students gain valuable insights and wisdom while developing strong relationships with their senior partners. This year, students have worked with seniors to make books, and they learned how to knit together. Students also made elder abuse ribbons to raise awareness of elder abuse.

Readers in Kindergarten

Recognizing the importance of literacy development from an early age, GPE partners with the GP Resource Council to launch the “Readers in Kindergarten” program. Volunteers from the community visit kindergarten classes to read stories, engage in discussions, and ignite a passion for reading among young learners. This initiative not only enhances literacy skills but also cultivates a love for books and storytelling. This program is expanding next year, thanks to Bev Watson and her work with the Gilbert Plains Resource Council.

Community Field Trips

The school organizes enriching field trips for students in various grade levels. In grades one and two, students went on several mini trips to our community. These outings provide hands-on learning experiences and help students connect classroom teachings with the real world.  Grade one/two students have taken several trips to local areas such as Way to Grow Greenhouse, Old September, and the Fire Hall, not only broaden students' horizons, but also to foster a sense of pride and belonging in their community. Students also visited the Post Office, where they learned about the mail delivery process, the importance of communication, and the role of postal workers in the community. Finally, they visited the Municipal Office to learn about local government and decision making.  This experience not only enhances their knowledge, but also instills a sense of responsibility towards community service.  Grade three and four students embarked on a memorable field trip to the Negrych Pioneer Homestead, immersing themselves in the rich history and heritage of our region. This educational excursion provides a hands-on understanding of pioneer life, fostering a deep appreciation for the local community's roots and traditions. Finally, throughout the year, many students have participated in recreational activities such as bowling at Heartland Lanes and attending the Oksana & Quinn Dutchyshen Memorial Splash Park.

Community Fund Grant – Parents as Partners in Literacy

To further strengthen the bond between the school and the community, GPE successfully applied for a Community Fund Grant. With the grant, the school launches the "Parents as Partners in Literacy" program, encouraging parents to actively engage in their child's literacy development. Beginning next year, students in kindergarten to Grade 3 will see new and exciting books available for home reading.

Re-energizing the Parent Council

Recognizing the significance of parental involvement, GPE is in the process of collaborating with Gilbert Plains Collegiate to re-energize its Parent Council. The council becomes a platform for parents, teachers, and community members to collaborate and contribute to the school's growth. Regular meetings and joint initiatives strengthen the sense of community ownership and ensure that the school's decisions are inclusive and reflective of the community's values and aspirations.

Connecting to GPCI

In addition to the parent council, GPE is also connected to the Collegiate. We often collaborate and participate in the Terry Fox Walk and Remembrance Day service together. Students from GPCI volunteer at the school, and Grade 8 students visit for transitions before moving on to high school.

Being a Good Neighbour

Finally, in the past, Gilbert Plains Elementary has reached out to its neighbours during Christmas time and Valentine’s Day to deliver handmade cards. Enthusiastic students, armed with colorful markers, poured their creativity into crafting heartfelt messages and beautiful designs. With each card, they aimed to bring a ray of cheer to the recipients' lives. Teachers accompanied the young messengers as they ventured into the neighbourhood, knocking on doors and surprising residents with these thoughtful gestures. Gilbert Plains Elementary has a community garden where residents help us take care of the plants over summer holidays. These gardens provide an opportunity for recreational gardening and bring people together.

In conclusion, Gilbert Plains Elementary recognizes the immense value of fostering strong connections between schools and the community for the holistic development of students. Through a range of initiatives, GPE has demonstrated the positive impact of community involvement on education. Programs like "Seniors Are Cool" and "Readers in Kindergarten" have bridged the generation gap and enriched students' lives through intergenerational interactions and a love for reading. Community field trips have provided hands-on learning experiences and instilled a sense of pride and belonging in the local community. The successful application for a Community Fund Grant will further strengthen the bond between the school and the community, promoting parent engagement in literacy development. By re-energizing the Parent Council, GPE will ensure inclusive decision-making and a sense of community ownership. Through these initiatives, GPE has exemplified the importance of community connections in creating meaningful learning experiences and preparing students for a well-rounded future.