The 2017-18 school year marks the 25th Anniversary of Campus Calgary / Open Minds and the idea of Learning Beyond the Classroom. Since 1993, Calgary students and their teachers have had opportunities to have an immersive 5-day long field study experience at various vibrant community sites across our city. Nearly 115,000 students have engaged in this way of learning since its inception, which all started with an idea and a dream. Don Harvie, a well-known Calgary philanthropist, dreamt of having a permanent school at the zoo. When Don met Gillian Kydd, a specialist with the Calgary Board of Education science team, and Angela Rokne, a Grade 3 teacher with the Calgary Board of Education, they turned his dream into a reality. The idea was to dedicate one classroom at the zoo to be used each week by a new group of students and their teacher, allowing for many students and teachers to benefit from the program. Gillian believed that one week at the zoo could be so rich with learning, that it could become the catalyst for a year-long study at the school. Thus, Zoo School was born.
The three pillars of CC/OM are all celebrated in this momentous milestone event. Knowing that we are better together and have the support of community sites, education, and funders allows rich learning opportunities that enhance and extend learning beyond the four walls of the traditional classroom.
Throughout the year, we have celebrated the 25th anniversary in a variety of ways. Inviting Gillian Kydd to Calgary to meet with the CC/OM team and visit some of our sites, gave her the opportunity to see how the program has continued to grow, while still maintaining the integrity of the philosophy and vision from 25 years ago.
In June we celebrated the many champions of CC/OM with a 25th Anniversary Celebration Breakfast hosted at the Calgary Zoo, where it all began. This gave us the opportunity to celebrate the program and the many people from across the 25 years who have all helped create CC/OM into what it is today.
As part of the year-long celebration, we’ve also increased our social media footprint by engaging with our stakeholders in sharing the ‘story’ of CC/OM on twitter, our blog, and our website. The website has information that is relevant to anyone interested in CC/OM and ways for parents to engage their children in the Campus Calgary / Open Minds philosophy.
It is exciting to think about what the next 25 years of Campus Calgary / Open Minds will bring!