Fourth-year student Sierra Sumner spent part of her fall term creating an empowering platform for children’s voices through an innovative placement - thanks to a collaborative connection between Drs. Agostino and Goodwin-Faria, faculty members in the Child and Youth Studies program and The City of Oshawa’s TeachingCity initiative.
“I have always enjoyed working with young people and being creative is one of my own passions,” states Sierra, a Child & Youth Studies (CHYS) student, enrolled in the Teacher Education Stream at Trent University Durham GTA. “Combining the two really drew me to the opportunity.”
Placements that fit
As part of her course work this fall, Sierra participated in an in-person placement as a facilitator of a filmmaking class for high school students at the South Oshawa Community Centre.
“I knew it would be a great fit for me,” she shares.
As students received community hours for participation in her workshop, Sierra helped them to develop computer safety and digital literacy skills as they created short films. Given full creative freedom to nurture their passion for film creation, students learned skills, such as scriptwriting, storyboarding and understanding copyright policies.
Learning by teaching
With plans to become an elementary teacher, Sierra also adopted new skills.
“I gained experience working with young people and have developed a variety of communication, workshop development and computer software skills that I will carry with me for the duration of my education and into my future classroom.”
“The biggest takeaway is the importance of providing young people with a meaningful space to express their voice,” she observes. “I hope this project will bring awareness to the powerful messages that young people have to share and the importance of teaching them how to express their voices in safe and creative ways.”
Sierra’s placement, supervised by Dr. Agostino and supported through TeachingCity, is an example of the importance of experiential learning opportunities and leveraging our local talent, bringing the City of Oshawa together with its education and research partners. Several programs at Trent Durham, including Child & Youth Studies, frequently participate in the collaboration.
Sierra took advantage of the partnership to connect her studies to make a difference in her community while creating relationships with local partners – an opportunity to engage safely with peers through activity driven by passions and interests.
“My placement experience provided a unique learning opportunity. I applied what I have learned in the CHYS program to real-life scenarios. This has been rewarding and has truly felt like a full circle moment,” Sierra shares.
Learn more about Child & Youth Studies, offered exclusively at Trent Durham GTA.