The Experiential Learning Week (ELW) at Noble Central School has become a cornerstone event, providing students with unique opportunities to explore their interests and passions. Spearheaded by Principal Greg Rollingson, this program is not just about academic enrichment but about fostering personal growth and curiosity. Students are invited to sign up for experiences that pique their interest. There are sessions on genealogy, marketing and entrepreneurship culminating in a ‘Shark Tank’, art classes at Casa as well as volunteer opportunities at the food bank and animal shelter.
Grade 8 student Kaden G. participated in the genealogy experience, delving into his Ukrainian/German heritage. Kaden shares, "Getting to see my parents' background and learning about all the complications and changes that people in my Ukrainian/German heritage went through was fascinating." This exploration led him to a remarkable discovery: his ancestor was a founder of the University of Pennsylvania and a personal physician to George Washington. Kaden plans to delve deeper into this fascinating piece of his family history.
For Carley C.and Maria T. Grade 10 students who took part in the CASA Art Experience, the week was a chance to interact with different grades and learn various artistic techniques. "It was really focused on what we were hoping to learn," they note. The experience allowed them to share their work with their fellow students and experience the different styles and techniques they prefer.
Krista Draw, who teaches art and high school English at Noble Central, and who organized the CASA experience is delighted to see how participating in a shared interest really forges relationships between a diverse group of students, “the neat thing is that these bonds do not dissipate after the ELW week is over. I see the continuation of new friendships occurring in the form of mentoring, supporting each other at athletic games after school, and even something as simple as a few quick words of encouragement in the hallway”.
Principal Rollingson emphasizes the significance of such experiences in education. "Anytime we get to let kids choose their learning, they are more engaged," he says. He highlights how these experiences are crucial for relationship building and personal discovery.
The Experiential Learning Week, aligning with the Alberta Curriculum, allows students to pursue subjects they are passionate about. It's not just about meeting educational standards but about igniting a love for learning. As Rollingson puts it, "We want to make sure we are in line with the Alberta Curriculum, then find experiences that fit."
The impact of the program extends beyond the classroom. Rollingson observes, "Some kids realize that it's not something they wanted to do, or they surprise themselves. Confidence building is a positive in both cases." This approach has led to increased attendance during the week, indicating its popularity among students.
Noble Central will host another experiential learning week in the spring, this time in partnership with Lethbridge College. The success of ELW is a testament to the power of choice and interest-driven learning in education. It's not just about acquiring knowledge; it's about exploring personal interests, uncovering hidden talents, and opening doors to future possibilities and getting students engaged in their learning.