Manitoba Legislative Assembly Education and Outreach Services
The Manitoba Legislative building will be celebrating its 100th anniversary in 2020. This is a milestone that I look forward to celebrating. Our Legislative Assembly has much to celebrate over this past century. The saying if walls could talk certainly applies to this building. Our Assembly, like Assemblies across Canada, has evolved and grown over the years. A striking change that I especially note is that when this building first was erected, women were unable to vote or hold public office. How far we’ve come since then!
People who are familiar with our beautiful building might have noticed some of the physical changes to the Manitoba Legislature. We have seen sky lights put in, a statue placed on the grounds depicting our Famous Five, the Golden Boy taken down and, of course, put back up, we have seen politicians come and go, and a Chamber become accessible to all. Not all of the changes that have happened in this building are so obvious; there have also been internal initiatives that have had important and long lasting impacts.
The Manitoba Legislature’s Education and Outreach Services program first began in 2006 under the guidance its first director, Ms. JoAnn McKerlie- Korol. Ms. McKerlie- Korol had extensive knowledge about the Manitoba Legislative Assembly having worked as a Committee Clerk previously. Her knowledge of procedure within this Legislative Assembly was impressive. She saw an opportunity to share her knowledge with others by working with the Speaker’s Office to institute a new program.
The Education and Outreach Services program offers comprehensive learning activities about the inner workings of our provincial government. Out of this office there are programs geared towards teachers, students, and interested community members. Beginning in the mid-2000s, the Manitoba Legislative Assembly Education and Outreach program was a newly created concept seen in few legislatures. Since its inception, this program has trained over 350 educators and teachers and over 25,000 students. In addition, the program has trained just under 900 community members through their community outreach special presentations.
There are three programs created for teachers to participate in and take lessons back to their students. These are: Learning at the Leg!; Educator Workshops; and Make and Take Workshops. The Learning at the Leg! program is a two day weekend seminar that gives educators the opportunity to build on their knowledge, meet MLAs, meet legislative officers, and hear from guest speakers chosen to share their expertise. I am so pleased that during this seminar I, too, have a chance to share with educators the role of the Speaker of the Manitoba Legislative Assembly and discuss some of the accomplishments of my office. I hope that the teachers are as inspired by Learning at the Leg! as I am. The Educator Workshops happen throughout the year after school or on a weekend morning. These workshops each have a specific theme and give educators lesson activities to share with their students. The Make and Take workshops are a fun and interesting way for an educator to spend a Saturday morning at the legislature. These workshops provide teachers with the supplies and direction to create visual learning tools for their classroom. Teachers are encouraged to take the lesson back to the students who can then create their own.
The student programs that the Education and Outreach Services program offer are flexible to fit the busy schedule of teachers and their classrooms. Teachers can bring their class to the Manitoba Legislature where they are toured around the building and taught about the legislative process in the Education and Outreach Services classroom. For classrooms that are unable to make the trip to the Legislature Education and Outreach Services will travel to their classroom. These fun and interactive classroom lessons are for students in grades 4 through 12.
The community outreach program is one that can be tailored to any group coming to the Legislature. This program is the perfect opportunity for any community group or organization to get a better understanding of the Manitoba legislative process.
In addition to the above mentioned programs Education and Outreach Services offers many useful resources on their website. Please visit https://www.gov.mb.ca/legislature/education/education_services.html for more information.
Recently, after 28 years of service to the Manitoba Legislative Assembly in various roles, Ms. McKerlie-Korol retired and passed on the torch to the Manitoba Legislative Assembly’s next Education and Outreach Services Director, Mr. Stephan Day. Mr. Day is a talented educator and will oversee the program as it grows and evolves into the future.
I am proud of the strong and dynamic Legislative Assembly we have here in Manitoba. It is the product of many decades of hard work and forward thinking initiatives. The Education and Outreach Services program is a jewel in the crown of the Manitoba Legislative Assembly.