Knowledge Shared, Knowledge Gained: The Irwin Park Community Outreach Partnership
A hands-on, experiential, projectoriented approach to learning guides the programs. Learning begins with the student and the knowledge each student brings to their learning.
“It has been a wonderful project. One of the learners who had struggled with literacy for years blossomed with this project—he wanted to have a waterwheel at the park and he researched extensively on the Internet to find out how to build one. He also became a wonderful photographer as a result of the project as well as becoming an expert in editing the video on the computer. He still struggles with writing and completing assignments but he really shone with the environmental project, as did many others.”
Donna Miller, Coordinator
Irwin Park, a pristine area located between Sooke Road and Highway 1, on the outskirts of Victoria was once a privately owned campsite created and developed by Joe Pekter. He worked tirelessly, in the first few years, creating two manmade lakes separated by a dam, established over a hundred campsites and it became known as Humpback Campgrounds.
In 2005 Colwood Rotary member Gerry Kalk, suggested to the club that the Humpback Campsite would be an ideal spot for an environmental clean-up project under consideration. The club supported the idea and approached the City of Langford and the Community Education Program of Sooke School District, now known as the WestShore Centre, to consider involving young adult students in the clean up. The National Literacy Secretariat of the Federal Government was approached to provide funding for a four-way partnership with the City of Langford, Colwood Rotary, the WestShore Centre for Learning and Training and the University of Victoria. The concept expanded and evolved to include other aspects.
During the school year of 2005-2006, on Thursday afternoons two University of Victoria graduate students taught the 20-25 students media skills and then Friday mornings the group headed out to the park, cleaned up brush, cut down trees, built snake fences, planted indigenous plants/trees and generally improved the site. How the late Gerry Kalk would have plants/trees and generally improved the site. How the late Gerry Kalk would have loved to see the result of his idea!
For more information, see: http://www.irwinpark.ca/.
From the Conference: Workshop Review
Reading at Work Presentation
The focus of the presentation was the development and use of authentic workplace materials to practice and teach literacy skills used in the workplace. An overview was given of the nine Essential Skills (Reading Text, Document Use, Numeracy, Writing, Oral Communication, Working with Others, Thinking Skills, Computer Use, and Continuous Learning) that have been identified as the foundation for learning all other skills. Participants then reviewed a job profile from the HRSDC Essential Skills job profiles web site: (http://srv108.services.gc.ca/).
The job profile breaks down an occupation into the nine Essential Skills, and identifies how each skill is used in that occupation.
Workshop participants were introduced to SkillPlan's resource, Reading at Work and the accompanying Facilitator's Guide. Using the essential skills job profiles, we interviewed workers, obtained permission to use workplace documents and identified what the workers need to read in order to successfully complete workplace tasks. With the support of a National Advisory Committee and the inspiration of Dr. Peter B. Mosenthal this resource was developed to practice, teach and learn the transferable essential skills of reading text and document use in 6 different entry-level occupations. Workshop participants interested in piloting Reading at Work in their educational settings can contact SkillPlan at www.skillplan.ca.