A Parade of Connection: One School's Creative Response to COVID-19

Communities of educators, caregivers, and families around the world have inspired us with the unique learning experiences they are designing for their students during the COVID-19 pandemic. Our Lady of Perpetual Help (OLPH) in Vancouver is one example of a school that rose up to the challenge of creating connection beyond the confines of physical distancing in a spectacularly creative way: by orchestrating a school-wide parade.

Teachers and staff at the school dressed up in colourful attire, and stood outside the school (carefully remaining at minimum the standard 2 metres apart), while holding handmade signs and playing musical instruments to greet their students, who drove by in festively decorated cars with their families. Students also held personalized signs, with messages to their school community.

As Lora Clarke, principal of OLPH, remarks, "Our family parade was very well received by the families and staff. It was interesting how many cars and busses with passengers who had no connection to the school were honking, waving and cheering. I think we all need lots of positivity and fun right now!"

While the COVID-19 crisis is without certainty a deeply challenging time for our global community, it also offers silver linings for those who have the fortune to receive and co-create meaningful experiences like this one that students and communities will remember for years to come.

In the words of Jane N., a student at OLPH, “This event meant so much to me because they took the time to organize a huge, very heartwarming parade around the school, allowing the students to see the teachers and for the teachers to see the students, not through a screen but with their own eyes.”

By virtue of halting daily life as usual, and the absences and presences we may feel more vividly as a result, the pandemic can also shed light on–and remind us of–what and whom we value most, as Clarke’s words illustrate: "It was important for us to find an opportunity to connect in person with our families, and particularly our students, but we underestimated how much we needed to connect as well, both with each other as a staff and with our beautiful students. After all, they are the reason for everything we do!”


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