Colouring book teaches how village works

Project aims to explain how local government works and get children engaged

Ashcroft students in grades Kindergarten through three are learning about their Village and how it works, thanks to a colouring book.

The project is the initiative of Chief Administrative Officer Michelle Allen, who wanted to find something that would get children aware of local government and what it does.

“It’s been council’s goal for several years to get youth aware of local government and the function it serves,” she says. “I thought a colouring book would be a way to connect with younger children.”

She knew the work of Kamloops graphic artist Hayley Fulton, and approached her with the idea. The result is a colouring book that contains many things Ashcroft children will be familiar with, such as the old fire hall and the mine cart at the Heritage park. It also explains how the Village keeps the streets clean, the garbage collected, and many of the things they enjoy—such as the soccer fields and swimming pool—clean and safe for them to use.

Recently Allen and councillor Barbara Roden visited four classes at Desert Sands Community School and gave a short presentation before handing out the colouring books. Students were particularly interested in the pool, with a show of hands indicating most of the children were looking forward to using it. A show of hands also demonstrated that many of the students were currently active in local soccer.

The colouring book is one of several initiatives the Village uses to introduce students to what local government looks like. On May 25 the Primary classes from Desert Sands School toured the Ashcroft Public Works yard, checking over the equipment there and finding out more about what the Village crew members do,  and older students have been taken round the sewage treatment plant. Students in grades seven through nine recently toured the water treatment plant with foreman Brian Bennewith, to tie in with water-based science projects they were working on.

There is also Fire Safety Week in the fall, when local firefighters visit the school and talk about that they do. Students are able to see some of the fire equipment, and two children become “Fire Chief for the day”. A mock election was planned to tie in with the municipal elections in November 2014, but the delay in the start of classes due to the teachers’ job action caused the event to be cancelled.

Copies of the colouring book are available at the Village office.

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