Saskatchewan’s new inquiry-based kindergarten learning system has led the class at Rendell Park Elementary School to raise $210 for World Wildlife Fund (WWF) Canada.
“It started with a dinosaur inquiry, which kind of snowballed into endangered animals because the kids learned how the dinosaurs became extinct, and they wanted to find out how they would save other animals from extinction,” said Jody Brummond, Rendell Park’s kindergarten teacher.
The class initially set a $40 fundraising goal, which they would use to sponsor either a panda or a polar bear through WWF Canada. Instead of $40, though, the students brought in $210, more than five times the intended target.
“The kids were bringing in money for doing environmentally-friendly things like collecting bottles, picking up trash, reusing books, donating books, so it was really wonderful,” said Brummond.
WWF Canada offers $40 classroom kits for a panda or polar bear, two of the most endangered animals on the planet. While pandas suffer from continued habitat destruction and a low birthrate, polar bears have had their habitats severely affected by climate change.
Each WWF Canada classroom kit comes with educational material, a small plush animal, a poster and some other small items. The organization also sells individualized kits for other animals facing endangerment, which come in similar packages. WWF Canada uses the money to support conservation efforts.
“The panda bear and the polar bear were classroom animals but we raised way more money than expected so we were able to sponsor the arctic fox and the blue shark and the grizzly bear,” Brummond said.
In addition to raising money, the kindergarten class learned about animal habitats, endangerment and preserving the environment.
The inquiry-based education system allows kindergarten students to guide classroom learning, while the teacher is responsible for matching the curriculum to their interests. Brummond said that under the inquiry-based learning model, students have been far more engaged with school material.