I remember entering the kindergarten classroom at Kendellhurst Academy as a newly hired teacher. The very first thing that caught my eye was a giant fish tank which housed many fish eggs. The children were quick to inform me that the salmon eggs were due to hatch any day now! I assumed that the salmon would fill the shoes of the “classroom pet.” However, I was stunned when I discovered that the students would interact with the salmon as they grew, and then would play a vital role in releasing the salmon into the Credit River. I couldn’t imagine a better way to involve the children and teach them about respecting both the natural world and living things.
In the weeks that followed, the teachers at Kendellhurst Academy integrated the growing salmon into many portals of our educational program. We discussed the lifecycle of the salmon while observing the salmon’s noticeable growth. Students and teachers tracked the salmon’s upcoming journey on a map to demonstrate where the salmon would travel after the release. Students actively engaged in activities about the importance of maintaining clean environments for wildlife like the salmon. The anticipation of the salmon release field trip was mounting! The children were not only excited, but showed an immense understanding in eco friendly practices.
Attending the salmon release field trip was an incredible experience, which I will never forget. I can recall looking around at the faces of parents, caregivers, and students as they released the salmon into the river. I thought to myself, “This day will leave a lasting imprint on the lives of these children.” I believe that this experience is one which encapsulates Kendellhurst Academy’s philosophy. Children are naturally filled with wonder and excitement. It is truly magical when this marvel can be channeled into energy which benefits the world around us. Teaching children about respect for nature is vital; however a lasting lesson is achieved when children are given first hand experiences from which to learn. I feel so proud to teach at a school which cultivates this respect for our planet!
- Sarah O’Neill, OCT, Junior Kindergarten Teacher, Kendellhurst Academy, Streetsville, Mississauga, ON.