The new grant was announced during the province’s first Learn Day on Saturday, which was held in Holland College’s Centre for Community Engagement and aimed to facilitate discussions on learning both in and outside of the classroom.
Provincial funding of $10,000 will be awarded in grants ranging from $500 to $1,000 to support P.E.I.-based learning collaborations. The grants will be allocated independently by a committee of volunteers from the Learning Partners Advisory Council and Education 20/20, with projects being judged on criteria of the idea, achievability and impact.
Council member Bonnie Stewart said the grant will help move forward the discussions that were fostered during Learn Day.
“I’m really excited, I hope there will be new projects and new conversations emerging from this,” said Stewart, noting that the grants are also open to any P.E.I.-based group focused on learning.
There was a wide variety of topics discussed Saturday, with some including assistance for newcomer students to P.E.I., mental health challenges, community schools, adult literacy and workplace learning.
Stewart noted the topic of learning is much wider than just schools and also includes early childhood, higher education, seniors and community learning.
“It’s not just K-12, it includes that but it is also learning across communities and across your lifespan,” said Stewart, who was a facilitator for the event. “I was delighted because my real goal with the day was to bring people together and give them the chance to have conversations with people they otherwise don’t get to sit down with.”
The result was a plethora of conversations that council co-chair Bill Whelan described as inspiring.
He said he hoped those conversations would continue.
“The learn grant is an opportunity to walk away from today and continue the conversations, continue the passion, and move forward to put these ideas into action,” said Whelan, noting that he felt the general theme throughout the day was the importance of community partnerships.
Premier Wade MacLauchlan, who also participated in the event, said one of the high points of the day was a number of presentations in the morning where individuals described their own remarkable stories of learning in the face of adversity.
“All throughout the province, students who have had challenges in their lives but they’re really on track and proud to have experience based learning, it was very positive,” said MacLauchlan. “Lifelong learning, that has been fundamental to all of our discussions today.”
Stewart said she was delighted with the ownership that individuals brought to the discussions with all the topics being introduced by the participants themselves.
“There was quite a variety of conversations that came to the table, we didn’t know beforehand what people would bring but I was really delighted,” said Stewart, adding that she hopes to see some of the groups apply for the grant.
Applications for the Learn Grant will open online Monday with a deadline of 4 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 9.