Monday, 9 April 2012

Patrick Goes to Kindergarten (using his powers for good)

My friend, Patrick went to Lauderdale School the other day and taught a kindergarten class. Patrick is not trained as an early childhood educator but he has demonstrated to me many times his willingness to talk person to person to kids. At the heart of inquiry and learning, are grown-ups willing to listen to children’s questions and respond to them.

The god-mother of the Edmonton Public School Board’sFoundation is Sandra Woitas. Sandra and I share a first name and a history of passion for education in the inner city. She is currently working hard to facilitate the delivery of early learning and full-day kindergarten experiences at schools with students considered  Edmonton's most socially vulnerable citizens. Because government funding does not cover the full cost of these programs, she finds sponsors. 
One of those sponsors is the excellent Edmonton Oilers Community Foundation. Sandra convinced Patrick LaForge, EOCF board member, President and COO of the Edmonton Oilers hockey team that to understand the great good the money was facilitating, he should come and spend a morning as the kindergarten teacher. 
There was a lot of professional support in the room but I can tell from the video footage that Patrick took to it like a duck to water. When I sent him an email note of congratulations he wrote back:

Just loved the experience with the children at Lauderdale School. The teacher (Terry Odegard) and the Foundation (Sandra Woitas) absolutely made me feel comfortable with my test at being a teacher for 90 minutes. Because, after having watched the movie “Kindergarten Cop” maybe 20 times with my own family, I have to say I was more than a little bit nervous when I was walking into the classroom with 24 little people this morning. However, my anxiety disappeared pretty soon, as the kids were telling me the routine for starting class as they performed their duties while directing my every move. After the kids went through their attendance process using the SmartBoard, the cutest little angel looked up at me and said “ Hey Mister, now you sit in that chair and read us a book!” How good is that?

Patrick LaForge, one of my heroes, using his powers for good.

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