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article imageNew program links university and elementary school students Special

By Tim Sandle     Jan 8, 2015 in Lifestyle
In Canada a leading university is working with a local school board whereby university students will mentor school pupils across a range of subjects with the aim of promoting healthy living.
Algoma University and the Algoma District School Board have announced a partnership that where university students will mentor elementary school students in the key subjects of science, reading, and numeracy. Mentoring is a powerful personal development and empowerment tool.
The objective of the new scheme is to promote healthier everyday living. The project is called the “Sci-FY program” (that is "Science for Youth", rather than "science fiction".) The project began in January 2015 and it is set to run during the first quarter of this year.
The project has been devised by Melissa Kargiannakis. She put together the Sci-FY program while a Fellow in Cohort One of Studio in the MaRS Discovery District in Toronto. In putting the project together, Melissa worked with her former principal Lucia Reece. The mission statement for the project runs: "Integrating science, reading, and math for healthier everyday living."
Discussing the project further, Melissa explains: “I knew from an early age that I wanted to work on improving the healthcare and education systems”. Adding further she says: “Sci-FY has been uniquely created for Sault Ste. Marie students. It includes the most relevant science curriculum and presents it alongside literacy and numeracy activities in a fun and engaging manner. Elementary school students will have two hours each week for nine weeks to spend with a local university student”.
The project works by pairing a university student with a student at a local elementary school. Once the pairings have been agreed, the two will spend time after school working and discussing numeracy and literacy skills. At the same time, the core message is about promoting healthy lifestyles. The Sci-FY program draws from the curriculum of the Learning-it-Together (LiT) program at Western University and in direct partnership with the S.E.E.D.S. Science for Life program out of The University of Toronto.
The types of lifestyle and health topics covered between senior and junior student include the risks of smoking, such as lung cancer, the importance of teeth flossing to avoid tooth decay, and the impact of bullying on mental health
It is anticipated that the program will benefit both categories of students. Furthermore, university students will be able to to give something back to their communities as well as enhancing various life skills that could help boost future job prospects.
Melissa hopes that the program will be reproduced in other regions. Here she notes: “This program is just the beginning, and this year is only a small step forward. I hope to see it roll out to multiple schools at both local school boards in the future, and involve students from both Algoma University and Sault College as we move forward.”
The initiative is worthwhile and it is hoped that the program will inform, instruct and inspire children and young people of all backgrounds to discover the excitement of science and technology.
More about Canada, University, Health, Elementary, School
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