Kidzsmart - the We Are Family Network Agency in Canada - is working with BC Hydro, a clean energy Crown Corp. in Western Canada to create an engaging program to educate kids on conservation and sustainability.

Kidzsmart Communications is working with STEMedge Academy in the Power Smart for Schools program, an initiative by BC Hydro. The collaboration aims to educate the future generation about the importance of energy conservation and sustainability.

The first project, the Earth Day 2023 campaign, themed “Invest in our Planet,” was a resounding success. Kidzsmart developed engaging lesson plans and activities that inspired students to become stewards of the environment. However, they didn’t stop at just sustainability and conservation, they also incorporated the practice of Two-Eyed Seeing; a unique approach that combines Indigenous and Western scientific perspectives, fostering a broader understanding of environmental issues. This approach is a testament to BC Hydro’s commitment to reconciliation through educational initiatives and youth empowerment.

The team embarked on a user research journey to understand the experiences of teachers and students with the Power Smart for Schools program. The insights gathered allowed them to identify areas for improvement and design a more effective and engaging program.

They discovered that teachers needed more training material and that students responded positively to hands-on activities. This led to adopting a more user-centric approach to education, aligning with the 5E/7E taxonomy.

Kidzsmart partnered with STEMedge Academy to create holistic educational outcomes that were on-curriculum, relational, and incorporated a Two Eyed Seeing approach. This collaboration allowed them to develop a scaffolded educational framework that catered to the diverse needs of both teachers and students, aligning perfectly with BC Hydro’s program goals.

Their design process was informed by these user insights. They designed activities that could be completed within 30-minute chunks, respecting the limited time teachers have for lessons. They also developed training materials to boost teachers’ confidence in delivering the curriculum. The team identified “big ideas” that centered on desired learning outcomes, ensuring that the content aligned with the provincial curriculum and respected the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s Calls to Action on education.

The final design deliverables included two age-segmented programs for kindergarten to grade 3 and grades 4 to 7, allowing them to tailor the learning experience to the students’ cognitive abilities and developmental stages. Kidzsmart created lesson plans for each segment, outlining program summaries with desired learning outcomes and aligning them to the BC provincial curriculum. They also designed downloadable activities that encouraged storytelling, engineering, art, and environmental stewardship. All the program content was built in both English and French, meeting the growing demand among French immersion schools in BC.

The results of program sign-ups since the start of the fiscal year have been really pleasing. There has been a 21% increase in new account sign-ups last year, and the aim is to surpass this target this year across the entire Power Smart for Schools platform. Compared to last year’s Earth Day program, there has been a 49% increase in engagement on the K-3 activity, a 46% increase on the 4-7 activity, and a staggering 76% and 110% increase in engagement on the French activities.

Kidzsmart are proud to be part of this initiative that aligns with BC Hydro’s mission to teach sustainability and conservation, while also incorporating Indigenization in educational material for BC students. They look forward to continuing their work with BC Hydro and STEMedge Academy to shape the future of education in BC.

This is the first of several projects lined up with BC Hydro’s Power Smart for Schools platform and Kidzsmart are eagerly looking forward to more exciting projects coming very soon!

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