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Newbridge Academy Election of a School Mascot: A Simulation of the Canadian Federal Election of 2019

Imagine a group of Kindergarten to Grade 4 students lining up patiently awaiting their turn to mark an “X” on a ballot that will elect a school mascot. On October 21st that’s exactly what students K-4 did at Newbridge Academy, at the same time as some of their parents were voting in the Canadian Federal Election.

Waiting to vote

After spending a week listening to campaign speeches from the 5 different candidates and hearing their campaign songs, students were eager to put an X on the ballot at the polls.

In conjunction with introducing the candidates, students were also introduced to the vocabulary used during election time, such words as campaign, polling station, ballots and candidates. The younger students were curious what a mascot did and what it was like… “Is it like the principal?”.

Mascot campaign speech and song

At the Polling Station the Grade 4 students signed students into each submitted class list. They handed out the ballots to each voter once their names had been crossed off the list and then directed them to the voting booth. Two booths were set up to expedite the vote and keep the students moving through the process. All our students were eager to make their votes count and followed directions well. Next, the Grade 4 class counted the students on each list, tallied the votes and discovered that the candidate with the most votes became the elected school Mascot. This simulation provided a real-life experience behind the scenes of voting as well as the actual vote itself.

Voting time

De-briefing the experience with the Grade 4 class helped to understand how they processed and made their choices. They agreed that everyone had an opportunity to make a choice. They agreed, also that they had to live with the decision made by the most votes, even if they didn’t vote for that candidate. They also decided that the campaign speech was more relevant to making their choices than the song because it was the substance of the candidate. They weren’t certain on what their schoolmates based their decisions. They enjoyed the process.

After the election

This was an exciting and valuable service to our students, particularly the Grade 4’s. This was a hands-on experience of the Canadian Government democratic process. They were able to engage in various aspects of the voting process that the general public do not during a Federal election. The discussions were rich with conversation and thoughts. We will be able to draw on this experience throughout our Social Studies terms as we look back at the history of the Canadian Government and compare this system with that of the First People’s Government, current and historical.

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