PHOTOGRAPHY BY CATHIE COWARD, THE HAMILTON SPECTATOR
Take a few patterns, some fabric, scissors, business advisers and kindergarten imagination and what do you get? At Queen Victoria school, you get a class where the students design, sew and even market clothes.
On any day in Mary Catherine Rolston’s kindergarten class at Queen Victoria school, the students are busy planning sewing projects, designing fabric, cutting out patterns, sewing clothes and creating promotional catalogues. The idea for the Sew Family 220 project began with student Eva-Leigh Thompson, 5, who was creating fashionable princess dresses at home with the help of her great-grandmother. When Rolston realized other students were interested in doing the same, she and teacher Brandon Sheddon developed a more expanded sewing program using the curriculum as their guide. Add Sheddon’s experience with Etsy, where the students’ articles are sold, and a little business was born. Rolston also approached Venture Cafe, which sponsored the class and led them to entrepreneur and mentor Adele Wolcott from BMO. Local businesses like Fabricland and Dollarama also donate supplies. The students market the business through short videos they create, as well as making handmade product catalogues. Not only are the kids learning skills such as sewing, numeracy and running a business, they are also giving back. Proceeds from items sold go to help build a school in a developing country.