Several years ago, we began working much more deliberately at developing learning partnerships. The reason we are interested in partnerships and working collaboratively is because we can do more effective work when we engage the knowledge and skills of a larger group. A year ago, the South Oaks PAC initiated a partnership with Green Valley School’s woodworking department, to explore some ideas to enhance the playground for our students. We invited our parent community to do some fundraising and you were generous. Thank-you!

Today, I am very excited to update you regarding this project. The brand new South Oaks mud kitchen is nearing completion in the wood shop at GVS! Under the guidance of Mr. Dwayne Penner, the GVS students have designed and constructed the mud kitchen in a very short period of time. We anticipate the completion of the mud kitchen being over the next couple of weeks and then installed at South Oaks for the children to enjoy this fall. Thanks to GVS for this fruitful partnership! Then, the goal for the winter is to construct three mini cabin shelters for the students. These will be installed into various areas of the bush and will be a great addition to our lovely playground.

I also want to highlight the fruitful partnership we have enjoyed with our trustee, Jon Driedger, over the past few years. Jon has been a very positive support of South Oaks and helped us navigate the COVID-19 pandemic during his term as school trustee. Thanks for Jon for creating a safe and supportive partnership with the staff. We will always remember the efforts you took to connect in personal ways. Thanks for everything!

What other fruitful partnerships could we create? Well, South Oaks is a place of learning and COVID has definitely had a great impact on student progress. For 2022-23, our staff has chosen “Pandemic Recovery” as a top priority for our students. Your partnership in this journey is essential to close the academic gaps created by COVID. How can you do this? You could start by helping your kids do a lot of reading, writing and math practice in ways that are engaging to them at home. Help them develop healthy routines and mental health habits. Listen to them when they express frustration in their learning or with friendships, etc and “lend your calm” when they need it, etc. Ask your child’s teacher to see what you can do at home to support the learning at school.

Fruitful partnerships do take patience, effort and energy, but your kids are worth it. We are thankful to be part of a community that is invested in it’s children. South Oaks is equally invested and we look forward to seeing what wonderful fruit we can grow together this year.


Dale Martens


in: General