Student Voice and Choice Shapes School Culture
Aspen Heights Elementary School (Red Deer Public Schools)
Red Deer, Alta.
Imagine a school where children experience math by having jobs, paying taxes and running businesses that sell everything from smoothies to clothing to dreamcatchers; a place where students study logic and law by taking their peers to court and fining them in the school’s currency; a place where kids come to understand politics by drawing up their own constitution, and drafting their own bills and laws; a place where these laws are enforced by the Royal Aspen Micro Police (RAMP). Imagine a school where citizenship is not just a character pillar that is talked about, but a continuous experience in playing with the building blocks of modern society. The Aspen Heights MicroSociety is just such a place. MicroSociety is embedded into the daily program of this K-5 school and is learning-by-doing at its finest. It’s a thriving, modern-day, mini-country – complete with an elected government, entrepreneurial hub, non-profit organizations, consumer marketplace, courts, police, university/college and community gathering spaces – created and managed by students and facilitated by teachers and community mentors. By making informed decisions in a safe and caring environment, students gain insight into what to expect in the real world of business and finance while honing their financial literacy, service learning, environmental awareness, community involvement, cultural appreciation and their health and wellness.