There are social studies lessons for kids about world wars and how Canada came to be.
But when teachers want to talk about the history of the community they work in, there have been few learning materials readily available to tell the local stories.
Now, the Coquitlam Heritage Society is bringing the city’s rich history to the classrooms with educational kits geared specifically to elementary school educators in School District 43 (SD43).
Created by programs manager Jennie Johnston and Abby Lizee, operations manager at Mackin House Museum, the kits are divided into three levels and each have a theme:
- K–1 focuses on family and community, comparing life in Maillardville at the turn of the 20th century to today’s family structure and roles
- Grades 2–3 dives into the food culture and how new Canadians who settled in Coquitlam spiced up the local cuisine with recipes from their homeland
- Grades 4–5 checks out the resources and industries that shaped Coquitlam such as lumber (through Fraser Mills, once the largest sawmill in the British Commonwealth); gold; salmon; and coal
Each kit contains lesson plans, worksheets, artifacts and primary sources.
For example, in the K–1 bin, there are books and props like a stethoscope, toy violin, eggbeater, watch and glasses for role playing, as well as photos from the society’s collection.
Teachers can borrow kits for a week — at a cost of $50 plus add-ons — to complement their social studies lessons.
“Teachers are busy,” Johnston said.
“There’s not much time to research. We’re trying to give that extra support to help them explain what Coquitlam was like years ago.”
Lizee said the society has wanted to create educational kits for years.
With the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic and in-person instruction restricted, society staff had some time to design and prepare the educational kits.
And more are on the way later this year for the higher grade levels, Lizee said.
The first kit was tested at a Vancouver school; however, the society recently got a grant from the City of Coquitlam to cover the cost of 30 free bookings for Coquitlam classrooms.
• For more information about the kits, teachers and educators are encouraged to visit Coquitlam Heritage's website.