They may not be old enough to vote in the municipal election, but students of the Lakeland still had their say.
On Thursday, Oct. 12 and Friday, Oct. 13, those in the community who aren’t of age to cast their ballot still had the chance to say who they would like to see claim the seats of their respective municipality.
For Grade 6 students, the vote fit in perfectly with their social studies class.
“In the Grade 6 curriculum, we study about democracy in Canada. We learn about local government, how decisions are made, and which governments play a role in certain areas. This ties in well with the curriculum, because students can’t practice their democratic right to vote because they aren’t of age, but they can do it through the student vote,” explained Susy Teixeira, Grade 6 teacher at Dr. Bernard Brosseau School.
By giving them hands-on experience, she continued, they’re inspiring youth to take an interest in politics.
“I think it’s important. If they enjoy doing it now, they will take it into adulthood. If they can get excited about it as children, and see their impact and how it relates to society, the more they get excited about it,” expressed H.E. Bourgoin Grade 6 teacher Vonda Worthman.
In some cases, the students took their excitement back to their parents, instigating discussion on the importance of voting.
Prior to checking off any names on their ballots, students spent time learning about each and every candidate running in their municipality.
The H.E.B. Grade 6 classes even went as far as hosting their own mini-forum.
“It’s fabulous. It’s hands-on learning at its finest. The kids are really excited, because they had the opportunity to not only listen to the candidates, but now they get to put their learning into action,” Worthman said.
At Dr. Brosseau, classes researched their candidates to learn about their platforms and views on issues in the community.
They took those opinions with them to the polls, explained Teixeira.
“They shared that information with each other. They make their decisions based on what each candidate believes in, and how that student feels about those beliefs,” she said.
Not only is it teaching students about the importance of voting, but it also teaches them how to vote.
“It gives them practice for when they are of age. It also engages them in the community and gets them involved in the government,” Teixeira explained. “They learn how the process works. The results will be official and made public. This helps them learn about the process and the right that they have when they come of age.”
The results weren’t revealed until after the official municipal election results were released on Monday evening. This was to ensure the results of the student vote wouldn’t sway the municipal vote on Oct. 16.
Worthman said the voting was a great way for students to feel involved in their community, and by bringing the discussions home to the dinner table, she is hoping parents remembered to take the time to cast their own ballots.
“I have had parents come and say that the kids came home and were really excited about it. It was a discussion that went beyond the classroom.”
One of the biggest lessons Teixeira wanted her students to learn, was the importance of knowing about the candidates’ views before voting.
She said, “We told them that it’s about making an informed decision, not just going out and voting for anyone, but really researching the people who are running, and then making a good, educated vote.”