Friday, 15 October 2010

Galt Gardens -- An Educational Resource

If all of the classes we have booked for the rest of the year come (and we certainly expect they will) we are expecting between 9000 and 9200 students to visit the Galt in 2010. And hopefully we'll still book more classes.

These students range in age from 3 years to university and they have come this year to learn about dinosaurs, coal mining, the Second World War, the Great Depression, great people of southern Alberta and so much more. And I love all of the different classes we offer.

But I must admit that one of my absolute favourite programs is the Downtown Lethbridge Treasure Hunt. For this class we take grade 2 classes to Galt Gardens. They have pictures of what the buildings used to look like and information on each building. And they have to find those buildings today. They also have to find three monuments within the park (there are over 20 monuments in the park) and answer questions about them. The students work in groups and spend about 45 minutes doing the treasure hunt. Then we go over the answers and have a tour.

There are many reasons why I love this program. The kids are immersed in history. They get to see the historic buildings and stand in Lethbridge's oldest park (125 years old this year) and they are engaged in active learning. They also get a true sense that history isn't just something from the past but that history surrounds us and that if we look around our community there is history and important things (monuments, buildings, plaques) everywhere. All you have to do is be a history detective in your community.

But as much as I love this program for the kids, it is sometimes even more fun watching the adults. We need a high adult to student ratio for this trip so we sometimes have up to 9 adults on a field trip. Many of them haven't been to Galt Gardens (or even the downtown) for years or they're new to the community and this is their first opportunity to learn about their new city. Watching them see the community with fresh eyes is great. And one of the things I most love about this program is that the adults learn as much as the kids and have as much fun as the kids.

Now the only thing I hope for is that the weather holds for the next few weeks so that the cold weather can't stop this amazing adventure.

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