By Margaret Hauwert
The Grade 5 curriculum dictates that children should be exposed to and learn about:
- the roles and key responsibilities of citizens and of different levels of government in Canada
- be knowledgeable about actions needed to be taken by our local municipality to address local issues
- formulate questions about social and/or environmental issues in Canada and local government
- what services are provided by each level of government
This is exactly what Ms. Thistle’s class did on Mon. Nov. 5 with a 45 minute visit from mayor elect Jamie Seeley. Many children were prepared with written questions about topics that were important to them.
The Q & A session started off with some basic questions such as:
- Q: What does being a Mayor mean to you? A: A person who listens to the citizens of Puslinch Township and can make sound decisions.
- Q: Why did you choose to run for Mayor? A: Decided to run because he was upset about the potential of some parkland being sold and felt the need to be part of making leadership decisions in the future.
- Q: Did you go to Aberfoyle Public School? A: yes, but there are no teachers here when I went.
The tougher questions began when:
Catrina asked, “Are you going to stop Nestles from taking all our water?”
Riya asked, “Why are our property taxes so high?”
Peyton asked, “Why do we not have sidewalks in the subdivisions so I don’t have to walk on the road?”
Pradnesh asked, “What are your future plans for Puslinch Township?”
Tim asked, “When are the baseball diamonds going to have improvements?”
At the end of the session, Jamie explained that knocking on doors everyday had its ups and downs. Some days it was very hard to do as it was out of his comfort zone and it took a lot of time away from his family. Other days it was great to connect with people in the township and it allowed him to reconnect with former classmates that he didn’t know lived here. He did mention about the encouragement from his family kept him going. He was surprised to win but it did feel good to win after all the hard work.
Whenever children have a speaker, I always wonder:
- What did a variety of children get out of that session?
- Was the content too high, too low or just right?
- Should a different speaker from the township come, for a different point of view? (perhaps the county)
- Did the children ask pertinent questions to show his/her level of growth on the topic? (in this case they showed this one in spades)
I randomly choose three different children and asked:
- Pradnesh: One regular man can become, one popular person (Mayor) as you know Mrs. Hauwert everyone starts at the bottom and works their way to the top.
- Colton: He was nice. He always answered the questions because he knew we were curious and serious about wanting to know about Puslinch Township.
- Riya: He told us about how property taxes are done. (I forgot to mention that Jamie made a pie graph to show how property taxes were shared between the levels of government). He talked to us about how much room is needed for a house in the township.
I will let you be the judge on how effective the speaker was.