LiD at St Michaels Elementary School, Burnaby

Program puts learning into kids’ own hands

Grant allows Burnaby independent school to launch a school-wide Learning in Depth program.

Cornelia Naylor | Burnaby Now
April 1, 2016 10:54 AM


Students at a Burnaby independent school will start going deep next year thanks to an $8,000 government grant.

St. Michael’s Elementary School will launch a kindergarten to Grade 7 Learning in Depth program in September, after getting one of 15 Innovation Partnerships grants announced this month.

“I’m really grateful to the ministry for being able to find this money for schools to be able to really take risks and be innovative because otherwise it would have be very difficult for us,” principal Caterina Kennedy told the NOW. “Our pro-D budget is miniscule.”

Learning in Depth is the brainchild of SFU education professor Kieran Egan. Each student in the program is given a specific topic (“dust” or “skin” for example) to learn about for one hour a week through her or his whole school career – kindergarten to Grade 12.

“If you don’t know something in depth, you really never get an understanding of the nature of knowledge,” Egan told the NOW in a 2014 interview. “So what I was trying to do was invent a little program that would ensure that every child became an expert. What they actually learn is how little they know, so it generates a kind of humility about knowledge, but it also gives them a sense of how the other things they’re studying in school are all very superficial, and it gives them a desire to want to know more.”

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