Photography by Linda Roy/Ireva Photography
Meet the Canadian Living 12th annual Me to We winner for the Educator Award, Keri Albert.
Name: Keri Albert
Where she's from: Saskatoon
Award: Educator Award
You might not find students sitting quietly at desks in Keri Albert's classroom, but that doesn't mean they aren't learning. Keri's class moves between a chapel, a garden and a meeting room, while her students—who range in age from 10 to 90 years old (and beyond!)—study math, science and reading, often while playing games, listening to visitors or doing hands-on activities. It's a program called iGen, an intergenerational classroom that offers Grade 6 students the opportunity to learn alongside elders at the Sherbrooke Community Centre in Saskatoon.
Keri got the idea for iGen while studying alternative education models as part of her master of education program. "I became more and more passionate about the ways we can all live and work and learn together," says Keri. She partnered with the Sherbrooke Community Centre to develop a program that would benefit both kids and elders, and launched the first iGen class in 2014. "The children learn to have friendships with people of all ages and all abilities," says Keri. And the elders? "They say the kids bring them energy. They bring variety and spontaneity into their lives, and give them new and exciting things to think about." Together, the class learns about health care and careers; they talk about poverty, homelessness and global issues. And through the year, Keri seesher students grow immensely. "They're awake to things they didn't notice before. They have patience for people who communicate in different ways." Keri hopes others in Canada and around the world will see this model and venture to try something similar in their own schools. "Be courageous," she says. "I have learned that things seem really complicated, but being somebody who can effect change in the world is very simple."
Meet our 2016 Me to We Award winners for more inspirational stories like Tysen's.