By Emily Janzen, Student, Seycove Secondary
In a world where business and technology pushes for students to become increasingly independent, the most important thing an educator can teach early on is how to be an engaged learner. Luckily, our school district has been blessed with incredible individuals, like Lisa Reid, who make this a priority.
Lisa is a primary teacher at Dorothy Lynas Elementary whose energy and enthusiasm inspires all who know her. Working with elementary kids since she was in high school, she has dedicated her life to helping students grow not just as learners, but as involved and well-rounded individuals. “Seeing them smile in the morning when I greet them at the door, and when they’re kind and compassionate to other people in their classroom” is how she describes knowing her vision for education is being met.
Unfortunately, she explained that in the past twenty years it has become harder to support this vision. “We were getting iPads in our schools and overheads to show things on a screen, and we started noticing changes in our students. As young as kindergarten and grade one they were struggling to play, and a lot of them would just play on their own.”
She didn’t believe that the problem was technology however, but rather that kids were getting less opportunities to socialize and engage with their world in general. This is why she began developing the play-based learning program, which she describes as a series of “games that use the curriculum content to bring together two or more students”.
After years of work, she was able to launch the program for students in kindergarten to grade three at Dorothy Lynas, and comments that “the difference in their academic levels and love of learning was incredible. With every game they played they were learning a skill, and they didn’t even know it because they were having so much fun.” Through the backing of her hard work, play-based learning programs are taking off in the other primary classrooms at Dorothy Lynas, and also in the neighbouring schools of Sherwood Park and Cove Cliff.
To Lisa, education has never been just about the curriculum. “I hope when they leave school that they understand the importance of being kind and compassionate towards other people, and that I’ve taught them how to genuinely love learning” was how she described the impact she hoped to leave on her students. Although she knows that the world will continue to change, she believes that students with these core values will be able to handle whatever they come across.
As closing words, Lisa would like to say that “we are so lucky to have such loving, supportive administration, teachers, office staff, educational assistants, custodians, and parents” and that this has been made possible with their support.