Airdrie students learn about politics with election
Grade 6 students at Meadowbrook School may not be old enough to vote in the Oct. 21 municipal election, but they’re still making sure their voices are heard.
The school will be hosting its own election on Oct. 21 during the noon hour and after school to give the students the opportunity to cast their vote on Airdrie’s candidates.
“We want our students to know that they have a voice and can influence the decision-making process. We also want them to know that each citizen has an important role in democracy,” said Meadowbrook teacher Sarah Leffler.
Leffler said to prepare the Grade 6 students have been researching municipal election procedures and local government responsibilities on the City of Airdrie website. Also, they’ve been researching each candidate’s platform using newspaper articles, online resources and the candidates pamphlets.
Nine of the 15 candidates have visited the school to speak to each of the three Grade 6 classes about their political platform and give the students an opportunity to ask questions.
Two students, Macy Fields and Tyler Ruck, said they are interested to see what candidates have to say about upgrading library services in the city. And, they both plan to vote on Election Day.
“When we get older we need to vote and make the decision who will be the leader in the City so it’s important to learn about that now,” said Fields.
From their teacher’s perspective, she said it’s also important to take the curriculum beyond the classroom and into the real world.
“(It’s important) to make connections to current events happening in the City. Instead of just telling (our students) there is an election happening in our city, we want them to become a part of it,” said Leffler.
A group of Grade 8 students, called the Leadership Team, will be running the election, including setting up voting booths, the ballot box and checking students ID cards when they vote.
“(We want) to encourage the students to make it their responsibility to vote on their own time rather than having it during class time,” said Leffler.
She added that one of the teachers who worked with Elections Canada will be counting and re-counting the ballots. The results will be available on Oct. 22 so the students can compare their results with Airdrie constituents.
“We will also use this as an opportunity to discuss voter turnout and discuss those implications on the democratic process,” said Leffler.
“Our main goal is to help them develop the skills to become informed and active citizens in our democratic system.”