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A gazillion times a day, this is how it goes:

“Education Coordinator, Karen Taylor speaking…”

“Yes, hello, I’m just wondering if I could bring my students (scouts, guides, youth group) for a tour.”

“No.”

Okay, I don’t really just say NO.  I do have some people skills.  But that is my answer in a nutshell, because I know that when we get your 28 grade 2s – or your 11 Guides or your 17 at-risk youth – into the Museum,  the worst move is to herd ’em up and lead the pack through our exhibits, even though there’s fascinating stuff to talk about and just about any one of us here could go on for hours about it all, passionately, adding the behind-the-scenes stories and more historical context to the wealth of information already in our displays.

Instead, when you call, I’m going to nudge you to toss that idea of a How-to-Visit-a-Museum out the window, and sign your kids up for an experience, for learning-by-doing, for one of our many education programs that aim to take kids to that the edge of their comfort zone where learning happens, and where learning lasts. “Experiential education” can take a lot of forms around here: role plays, a new hands-on skill, artistic expression, games,  but this is what it has looked like in the past couple of weeks. Doesn’t it look fun?! Read the rest of this entry »

Something had to be done.

For a long while, we’ve been offering this kind of paddle-carving program:

DSC02324 2012 Feb 15 St.Catherine PC boy

And this kind of paddle-carving program:

adult PC workshop

The first picture is from an awesome, satisfying and skill-developing program for kids aged 10 and up, in which the students take a 24-inch softwood (poplar) prepped blank to a completed mini-paddle in 3 hours.  We’ve shared this hands-on education program with thousands of grade 4+ students, Scouts, Guides and our summer paddling camp participants; we also offer a paddle-carving birthday party option.

The second photo is from one of our acclaimed weekend-long artisan-led paddle-carving workshops for adults. No softwoods in this program; this is the real deal.  Taking that hardwood cherry blank – which is only minimally prepped – to a finished paddle takes two full days of focused woodworking with specialized tools, facilitated with a 1:5 instructor to participant ratio.  And what a gorgeous paddle you end up with – a paddle that will be treasured and used for a lifetime. Read the rest of this entry »

Last month I began my VIP tour of our Education Programs with an up-close-and-personal account of The Perfect Machine, a grade K-3 science and social studies program that focuses on the First Nations canoe design, flotation, buoyancy & surface tension. Moving into Part Deux of this series, we’ll take a virtual run-through today of our Paddle Carving program for grades four+,  bearing in mind that this program gives kids an experience that is actually just about as far as it gets from virtual — an arguably much-needed balance to all that screen time!

DSC02326 2012 Feb 15 St. Catherine

Yes, that’s a rather small paddle.  I made one for my daughter when she was three (which, to be honest, didn’t see a lot of in-water action), but beyond that age, this size definitely serves as a souvenir or decorative paddle, or, in our household, as the official pinata-whacker and reacher-of-things-under-couches. Frankly, to make a full-size hardwood paddle from scratch takes adult focus and determination and a very full weekend (see our workshop info here); we also run a full-size, full-day paddle carving program for teens 15+ using prepped blanks (please contact me at education@canoemuseum.ca for info):

Read the rest of this entry »