TDJ celebrates 25 years
For 25 years, Terre des Jeunes school has provided French-language public education to students in the Alexandria area. On Friday, as the school celebrated its silver anniversary in the gymnasium, the principal, Daniel Lalonde, took the opportunity to talk about the new programming that will be available at Terre des Jeunes.
One of them is the International Baccalaureate program, an international program that “focuses on teaching students to think critically and independently, and how to inquire with care and logic.”
The program has been around since 1968. Today, it’s in almost 5,000 schools in over 150 countries.
Mr. Lalonde was in Austin, Texas for four days this summer, where he took an introductory course on the program. Unsurprisingly, the International Baccalaureate has some pretty strict standards. Terre des Jeunes has three years to meet those standards before it will be accredited. Terre des Jeunes will also unveil its Spartech2 program this year. “Every five weeks, our students will have the opportunity to take workshops in sports, the arts or technology,” Mr. Lalonde says.
He adds that the nature of the workshops will change throughout the year. Sports workshops could start out with hockey or figure skating. Later they might involve curling or swimming. Ditto for the arts, which could include the culinary arts or drawing. Technology could be anything from robotics to computers.
Finally, the school will offer a unique problem-solving program that is closely modelled after Canada’s Parliamentary system. There will be a student council – complete with Prime Minister – and various ministries like sports & leisure, government affairs, or the environment.
Mr. Lalonde offers an example of a problem that the Ministry of Environment might have.
“Imagine that the ministry doesn’t think there’s enough flowers on Main Street,” he says. “So now they have to find out what the challenges are. How do they pay for the flowers? Who do they call for permission to plant the flowers?”
Also new at the school: Spanish classes. Mr. Lalonde says that the school’s art teacher is going to offer classes in Spanish.
“When our students leave here in Grade 8, they will be able to speak three languages,” he says.
The school celebrated its 25th anniversary with a barbecue and some play structures. Currently, Terre des Jeunes has 125 students from preK to Grade 8. Many of them were wearing special 25th anniversary Tshirts on Friday.
SILVER ANNIVERSARY: Terre des Jeunes principal Daniel Lalonde stands with students Oakley Williams, 5, and Emilie Chouinard, 4, and Léo, the mascot of Conseil des écoles publiques de l'Est de l'Ontario at the Alexandria school last Friday afternoon. The school was celebrating its 25th anniversary.