When Cathy Beach retired, her teacher’s brain didn’t turn off. After seeing some news about 2017’s Canada 150 celebrations, she started to wonder what her class would have wanted to do to mark the occasion. She realized, thinking back to an online learning unit she led as a teacher, that her students were actively trying to connect with other kids across country but didn’t have the tools to do so.

From that, A Kids’ Guide to Canada was born. The technology-driven educational initiative invites students from all corners of Canada to investigate and introduce their community to their peers using an interactive map, as well as play an active role in telling the story of their country. Through its partnership with the Digital Human Library (DHL), the guide also acts a resource for teachers seeking to collaborate with other classes to promote deeper learning and intercultural conversations.

“It is one of the most rewarding things to get up and do,” says Beach.   

With goals like providing a meaningful way for children of Canada to celebrate the sesquicentennial, ensuring authentic opportunities for children to use their voice, connecting elementary teachers and students of all cultural and socioeconomic backgrounds, and fostering a culture of mutual understanding, it’s no surprise that Beach is so fulfilled.

The map is publicly available for everyone to peruse (the organization has gone to great lengths to ensure digital safety and student privacy) and teachers and students can participate as much or as little as they’d like. While the project is certainly digitally driven, Beach has ensured that it’s as inclusive as possible, requiring only that a teacher have an email address to access it.

For those who aren’t teachers or elementary students, but are looking to get involved with or stay informed about A Kids’ Guide to Canada, head over to akgtcanada.com, where you can find more details about volunteering as well as the organization’s latest news, and don’t forget to check AKGTC out on Twitter and Instagram.