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Art displayed in qathet forest

Edgehill Elementary School hosts event for parents highlighting student creativity
OUTDOOR GALLERY: Stacey Russell, with one-and-a-half-year-old Chloe Garand, braved the damp conditions for Edgehill Elementary School’s art in the forest event, which featured a display of student art, as well as musical performances by students in the school’s outdoor classroom area.

For the first time in a long time, Edgehill Elementary School parents were able to take in an event at the school, displaying student art and highlighting music.

Called Art in the Forest, the Edgehill event was carried out in the outdoor classroom, featuring the creative work of many of the school’s students.

Rebecca Harrison, who teaches a grade five and six class part time at Edgehill, said she and teacher Megan Skidmore organized the event, using the school’s outdoor classroom in the wooded area adjacent to the playing field. Skidmore coordinated and conducted a number of musical performances by students.

“This is the first time we’ve had a parent social in years, so we were really cognizant of different comfort levels,” said Harrison. “We know the school buildings are not always easy for everyone. Some still aren’t ready for big indoor events, so it was a natural fit for us to use the outdoor space, because it is a space where different user groups from our school, and different classes, are using it.

“We’re really proud of the outdoor space and we wanted to showcase the stewardship of it, as well as the art we’ve been creating all year.”

Harrison said the school is also very aware that it is fortunate to be on the traditional territory of the Tla’amin people, so having a session with the students drumming and performing Indigenous songs was a nice addition to the day’s events.

In terms of the art displayed, it was a combination of work done in the classrooms throughout the year, and some classes created art specifically for the art in the forest event.

“Some teachers had already done art,” said Harrison. “The idea was for it to be geared toward celebrating the outdoor classroom or being in an outdoor space. Some teachers had their students create art specifically for it.”

Because it was raining on the day of Art in the Forest, as a last-minute initiative, a canopy was set up in the outdoor environment to shield the artwork from the precipitation.

“We were just going to use open space and we’d already gone out and strung up a bunch of lines, but we had to, at the last minute, decide to cover the art,” said Harrison. “It was so wet we weren’t sure we could protect the art, so we made a decision to put the tent over it.

“We had one grade four student come and say it looked beautiful under there, so it was one of those fortuitous things.”

Harrison said it was the first time for her meeting some of the parents of the students in her class. She said it was a well-attended event, and being outdoors, it may have been more comfortable for many parents in the wake of the pandemic.

“We had lots of families, which was neat,” said Harrison. “Being outside, it was nice, as well, because we were able to invite entire families, rather than just the parents or guardians. I think people were happy with the experience.

“I had a few parents who missed it that were disappointed. They would love for it to happen again. This was sort of our trial run with it.”

Harrison said it was also great to show off the outdoor space because not all parents have been there.

“It was kind of a double-barrelled purpose,” added Harrison. “It was the artwork, but also to show where we have been learning out there. We got people out there who had never seen the space before, and they were really impressed with the stewardship and taking care of that space.”