STUzapalooza: BEd Teacher Candidates Bring Hands-on Sustainability Education to K-3 Students

Three Bachelor of Education STUdents with a group of K-3 elementary school students at sustainability event- STUzapalooza in Saint John

STUzapalooza—a climate change and sustainability event— brought over 200 elementary students from neighbouring schools to Harbour View High School (HVHS) in Saint John.  The event was hosted by 30 Bachelor of Education students, in collaboration with the Climate Action Group at HVHS.


Supported by a grant from Environment and Climate Change Canada, the teacher candidates and high school students facilitated a full day of climate change and sustainability activities.


The event included pollinator gardening, tree planting, plant-based clothing tie-dyeing, solar and wind energy explorations, climate-themed art and music, hydroponics, garbage pick-up, and a locally sourced sustainable lunch.


BEd STUdent Joe Woytiuk highlighted the importance of teaching small everyday actions to young students.


“Climate change education can be scary, but events like STUzapalooza make it fun, engaging, and memorable. These memorable experiences ensure students carry these lessons for life,” he said.


Woytiuk said STUzapalooza provided an opportunity to see the value of hands-on learning experiences for students firsthand.


“Watching Harbour View students learn by organizing this event and seeing the skills they and the elementary school students developed shows how important experiential learning is for growth and success,” he said.


BEd STUdent Frances McCurdy said the event was crucial for raising environmental awareness.


“We're hoping to increase their environmental awareness and stewardship for the planet, because as they say, there is no Planet B,” she said.


Inspired by the event, McCurdy also hopes to engage her future students in sustainability practices.


“I’m hoping to teach high school, and seeing the passion Harbour View students have for this event is inspiring. Watching them organize STUzapalooza reminded me that passion is infectious, and I hope it is passed on to the elementary students involved.”


Community partners, such as the Gaia Project, the Centre of Excellence for Energy, Learning for a Sustainable Future, Indigenous Knowledge Keeper Kate Akagi, ACAP Saint John, and the City of Saint John’s Green Machine, also participated in the day-long event.