Education for Citizenship
Taking action is a cornerstone of learning at Sunnybrook School. As an IB school, we educate for global citizenship, as well as local and digital citizenship. Through the PYP years, action and community service are seen to be pathways to learning about the meaning of citizenship in all its contexts. Student action is integrated into the Program of Inquiry and derived from student agency.
Agency is when our students have ownership of their own learning and action comes from that learning. Within a learner-centred environment, there is more student participation which includes meaningful reflection and a sense of responsibility. Students identify and set their own goals, help to choose their own differentiated activities, and reflect upon how well they have met their goals. With a learner-centred classroom, the teacher becomes the facilitator of the learning and assessment, monitoring the action and progress, and checking in with students.
The IB identifies five categories of student action:
- Participation: Being actively involved in the learning community and showing commitment to contributing as individuals and as members of a group.
- Advocacy: Taking action individually or collectively to publicly support positive social, environmental or political change.
- Social Justice: Taking action for positive change relating to human rights, equality and equity.
- Social Entrepreneurship: Supporting positive social change through responding to the needs of local, national and global communities; to address challenges and opportunities in innovative, resourceful and sustainable ways.
- Lifestyle Choices: The learner making positive lifestyle changes in response to learning.
Individual Student Action
Children are naturally moved by the need of others, and have the desire to make a difference in the world. We encourage agency and independent student action; we are very proud of individual students who have taken on a wide range of initiatives, including a food drive, cutting their hair for cancer research, making cards as a fund-raiser, and sponsoring a book drive.
For elementary students, action acquires more personal meaning when it is collaborative, as student groups learn about the needs in their community and the world, and participate in discussions and planning for action. Various classroom-related projects, initiated by student learning, are proposed throughout the year. Where possible we promote action that doesn’t include just raising money for various causes, but allows students to make a more active and personal contribution.
Whole School Action
We also have several events each year that involve the entire school in taking action. Action is part of the learning process in all units, especially the Grade 6 PYP Exhibition. Many of the grade six initiations have now become whole school actions that we have adopted to participate in annually.
Examples of School Action at Sunnybrook include:
Kids Can Too
Our Kids Can Too group provides service opportunities for our older students. Meeting regularly, all students in grades 4 – 6 are welcome to participate, suggest, and carry out initiatives. An important part of student action is building awareness, which is a focus for Kids Can Too. This club is an established part of Sunnybrook School culture and fosters the IB Learner Profile and the philosophy of our school in an active, ongoing way.
Care & Share
Every December, SBS donates to a local Food Bank to provide food, gift cards, diapers etc. to our community during the holiday season. SBS also walks to our local retirement homes to sing holiday songs to our seniors.
Eco Action Club
Every student is part of the Eco Action club which promotes various environmental initiatives and hosts our annual Earth Day assembly. Students share their ideas to help address issues like Climate Change by turning off lights, using refillable water bottles, reducing plastic use, recycling brown towel waste, composting, and planting our own SBS garden to use in our lunch program. We strive for these practices to become embedded into our students’ way of living.
Together, the Sunnybrook community is working towards becoming a certified EcoSchool! Led by our amazing Green Team, our various campaigns throughout the year teach students that by taking small steps, we can make a difference and positively impact the world we live in. We are thrilled to be joining the larger EcoSchools community, and we look forward to celebrating our students’ thoughtful engagement with this enormous and important issue.
Net Zero Carbon
Our school’s commitment to addressing climate change was inspired by the remarkable efforts of some of our grade six students during their 2022 PYP Exhibition. These students calculated that if each of us planted 5 tree seedlings it would offset our emissions and let us become a net-zero school. This important initiative will be sustained for years to come not only to ensure that we remain net-zero, but as a meaningful way to help our students develop a sense of personal agency in taking actions that meet our collective responsibility to future generations.
After researching about the effect of climate change and our responsibility to change our ways, a student group challenged the school to eat less meat. Sunnybrook provides a hot lunch to all students every day and from this initiative, SBS decided to have Meatless Mondays on our menu to do our part in addressing Climate Change.
Pink Shirt Day
A student group initiated this action to wear Pink shirts in February to stand up against bullying. After researching how bullying affects others and how to solve conflicts, the students wanted to celebrate diversity, embrace other cultures, identities and true selves in more open and direct ways.
Terry Fox Run
SBS holds an annual Terry Fox Run, in which all students participate. Parent involvement is key to the success of this event. This event is a Canadian tradition that SBS participates in to promote awareness and to help cancer research.
At SBS, our students are aware of current events and natural disasters that affect many in our world, and our school has a tradition of responding to the great need following such disasters by organizing fundraisers to support international aid organizations like the Red Cross.