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Intergenerational story time engages readers of all ages

Students at the LaSalle Action Centre were the regional winners of OSEntreprendre Challenge 2022 in the category of Adult Education. They are seen here proudly displaying their winning stickers in May. Photo courtesy of the Action Centre
Students at the LaSalle Action Centre were the regional winners of OSEntreprendre Challenge 2022 in the category of Adult Education. They are seen here proudly displaying their winning stickers in May. Photo courtesy of the Action Centre
Montreal - Thursday, May 19, 2022

by Nancy Battet

The LaSalle Action Centre, which is associated with the Pearson Adult Career Centre (PACC) of the Lester B. Pearson School Board (LBPSB), is a social integration program that provides courses for adults in LaSalle who have physical and intellectual challenges. 

Denise Currie has taught at the centre for several years now and wanted her students to experience the idea of bringing the “entrepreneurial spirit” to her classroom. In September 2019, she took part in a LBPSB workshop, where she learned that entrepreneurship is not always about starting a business. It is also about “social entrepreneurship,” where students are encouraged to brainstorm ideas on a passion they may have or a need they identify in their community. 

She learned that students can take action on solving a particular need, develop a product, create a service or organize an event. 

After discussions with her students, they came up with the idea of offering a service which would be to read to younger elementary students in the LaSalle area through an online platform. The Action Centre was taking action! Collaboration was achieved with LBPSB elementary school, LaSalle Elementary Junior, with teacher Karen LaPorte and her second-grade students. 

Ms. Laporte and her students were thrilled when they heard they would be the recipients of the “storytime service” by Action Centre students, and through brainstorming with their teacher they came up with an entrepreneurial project of their own! They decided to organize a “meet and greet” for their Action Centre mentors prior to the story time activities. During this online event, students prepared a PowerPoint presentation to introduce themselves and to showcase all the wonderful things they do and learn in their classroom. This event took place on February 17. 

“COVID quarantine hit when these children were in kindergarten, so [for] almost their entire school experience they’ve lived in a “bubble,” said Grade 2 teacher Ms. Laporte. “Developing this connection with the Lasalle Action Centre has been really special for my students; they were extremely motivated to present their projects to adults outside of their school. It sparked creativity and teamwork. They also loved hearing stories from our new friends at the Action Centre.” 

The first of the storytelling activities took place via videoconference on February 24, when Action Centre students read both French and English stories to the children. 

Intergenerational story

Action Centre teacher Denise Currie is very inspired by this new partnership with her students and LaSalle Elementary Junior. “This cross-generational project of creating a story time for Grade 2 students has empowered this community of adult learners and recognizes the contribution of people with physical and intellectual disabilities,” she said. 

Her students agreed. “I like making a difference in the perception that children might have about people who are physically challenged. Reading to a Grade 2 class was a positive experience,” said Action Centre student Melissa Lemilen. Said Laura Wishart, “I like working with children, and it boosted my confidence to read to them.” 

Natasha Zielinski agreed and said, “I learned not to be shy reading to children.” 

More activities were being organized for the students. The Action Centre mentors had planned to read to Laporte’s second graders once again at the end of April. As well, Denise Currie and her Action Centre students plan to invite their younger buddies in person to the Action Centre in June. There may even be a food truck! 

The project has won the regional level for the OSEntreprendre Challenge 2022 in the category of Adult Education. 

Nancy Battet is a pedagogical consultant at the Lester B. Pearson School Board.