A classroom of happy campers could be found at Westpark School earlier this month when Grade 6 students participated in a classroom camping day. 

Talia Vellacott, the school's Grade 6 teacher, came up with the idea years ago after being inspired by her Grade 7 teacher "Mr. Schultz," who did a classroom camping day with her and her classmates.

"I still remember it, and when I became a teacher, I was like, 'I have to do this!'" 

Vellacott set up tents, and after students came to school, they changed into summer clothes while taking in a day of education in a unique way on March 1.

"We did Math, English Language Arts, and Social Studies during the day in tents, and the kids just had a blast. Some students brought mugs, sleeping bags, and lawn chairs. We also had some fake trees and a fake fire pit inside the room."

The class ended the day with smores outside, in cold weather, surrounded by a real fire and music provided by the school's worship team, who brought out guitars to lead the Grade 6's through a few songs.

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"Some of the kids asked, 'Oh, could we do this every Friday?' I responded, 'That would be too much work for me,'" she laughed, then continued. "It's doing the same work but in a different environment, which is really cool." 

Vellacott says that once a month, she tries to do something special for her class involving her lesson plans.

"It's just such a good community-building activity here, and it gives the students something to look forward to. It's mostly just about giving the students a reason to come to school, especially when it's really cold. The weather isn't really deciding whether it's winter or spring; I think it was just important to keep the students looking forward to summer and give them a reason to come, even when it's dark and the days are still cold."

The educator noted she was impressed with the school providing her with every resource they could to help with her idea, which Mr. Schultz inspired her to do all those years ago.

"It was a really cool picture of how our organization here works as an ecosystem and helps each other succeed."