“A fire station!” “A school!” “A candy store!” “A playground!” “A pet store!” “A path to ride my bike!” “A BMX track!”
These are just some of the spirited answers a room full of second-grade students provided Bordeaux Developments’ CEO Birol Fisekci and Harmony’s Discovery Centre Ambassador Vania Burton when the kids were asked what they thought should be in a community.
It’s all part of Harmony’s ongoing School & Learning Program, a progressive outreach initiative that compliments the Social Studies Curriculums of grade one and two classes wherein they learn about the characteristics and development of communities in Canada.
“I believe we are one of few developers if not the only one in this area to have a program like this.” says Ryan Hall, VP of Marketing and Communications.
On October 23rd, Harmony was pleased to host over 80 curious grade two students, teachers, and aides from Bearspaw Christian School for what was Part Two of the program. Part One includes Fisekci visiting the students in their school classrooms to discuss community planning. Part Two involves the students visiting Harmony to see and experience how theory is put into practice. Harmony has to date conducted this presentation and experience with 2 other schools in the Springbank Area and is enthusiastic to expand the program. In Harmony’s award-winning Discovery Centre, the students learn about housing, parks, layout, and in Harmony’s case, the importance of water treatment and management. They also learn about what makes Harmony special in terms of its eight guiding principles, or values, for building a complete holistic community – Live, Learn, Work, Play, but also Create, Connect, Nourish, and Sustain.
The students are encouraged to think about how their answers fit into these categories and to open their imaginations to everything a community could be. The presentation doesn’t shy away from the complexities of planning and building a community, including cost and compromise.
After they review a display about the settlement, ranching, and Copithorne family history of the land, they gather around Harmony’s large scale circular projection map to learn more about the full layout of the community. The session ends with a surprise visit from Rosie and Rocky Raindrop, Harmony’s official purple and blue loveable bulbous “Water Mascots.” Hugs, high 5’s, big smiles, and plenty of pictures make for a memorable morning. But, Rosie and Rocky will also make their appearance later at Harmony’s state-of-the-art Water Treatment Centre.
A guided walking tour introduces the students to the character architecture and designs of the houses and the context of those themes given its sense of place. Street design and path design are showcased and explored. The role of public art, in major and minor ways, are highlighted – from the dramatic Entry Feature “Cultivate” which is an interpretation of the plows that historically tilled the land to the detailed custom-made manholes featuring the mythical “Harmony Tree of Life.” Harmony’s Arts Master Plan foresees many more installations in the future, big and small, for further enrichment of the resident and visitor experience.
The children are bussed a short distance over to Harmony’s world class Water Treatment Facility where they learn about how the lake, water treatment, waste water treatment, storm water, wetlands, and reclaimed water systems work. It may seem a bit overwhelming for a second grader, but Rocky and Rosie help break it down. They meet the engineers, tour the facility, see all the technology at work, and get an early introduction to the importance of safety and sustainability.And what would an experience be for a first or second-grader without a snack break and then 15 minutes to go crazy exploring Paintbrush Park, testing out all the playground equipment, and running off some energy?
Before boarding their busses back to school, each is presented with a junior “Community Planner Certificate,” an honorary Harmony hard hat, and Activity Book with community-related questions, puzzles, and challenges.
“We invested ourselves into creating this initiative because “Learn” is one of our key tenants. We care about the next generation understanding what a community is, how it’s planned, what’s important, what’s involved, and with this early education, who knows what can come from that? Who might be inspired? Who might bring even bigger and brighter ideas forward in the future? It’s a spark.
And the intention is to get kids to think, observe, apply, invent, imagine what their neighbourhoods could be in the years to come” says Fisekci.Harmony hopes to grow this initiative to other schools and districts, as well as a more advanced High School program.
For more information, please contact Birol Fisekci, CEO Bordeaux Developments- 403.215.0802 Email: email@example.com