Hands-on, minds-on learning with Elephant Thoughts

Elephant Thoughts, Canada’s largest charitable organization supporting Educational Outreach in First Nations communities, has been operating out of Sipeknekatik over the past year.  The program provides opportunities for students in the area to develop a passion for science through interactive events. 

The goal behind the programming is to make it fun, make it hands-on, celebrate and embrace the local culture, and involve the whole community. This goal is evident through all of the different events offered in the community. 

Dianna Trull, educator and Elephant Thoughts program director at Sipeknekatik, is very excited about how the program is going. “We can get between 60 – 90 parents and kids for each of our weekly community events, depending on the weather. We also offer after school programming for the children in the community, which is also quite well attended.” 

The community is able to hire staff from the community and it helps to employ a lot of teen mentors who will eventually move up into supervisory positions. The goal of the program is that in a few years, the community will take over the staffing of the entire program and it will be run internally. 

“This is the easiest program to work with,” said Haley Ward, mentor.  “The activities are planned out and we just follow the plan. The kids love everything we do and whenever they see us outside of here, they ask us about what is happening next.” 

Parents also really enjoy attending the community events and they love the changes they have seen in their children and grandchildren since the program began. 

“This is the most amazing program we have ever had here. The kids are so excited to attend from one week to the next,” explained Patricia Nicholson. “What I really found interesting is that it changed the Christmas lists at my house. The kids started asking for educationally based toys instead of the toys they used to ask for.” 

The students who attend the program love the community events and had nothing but good things to say about them:

“I like coming here every time because there is something fun happening here each week!” -Sherona

“Lego is my favorite night that we had so far. I can’t decide what my favorite part of tonight is yet. I have to try them all first!” -Carly

There are still some exciting community events coming up in the next few weeks, with a dinosaur dig happening on April 2nd, and the program finale on April 9th. For more information, please visit the LSK school website and look for Elephant Thoughts.