Project Profile

Project Title:
The Snack Circle
Imagineaction Social Action Projects
School Name:
Ben Calf Robe - St. Clare Elementary/Junior High School
School board / First Nations school jurisdiction:
Edmonton Catholic Separate School District No. 7
Project Theme:
  • Thrive [health & wellness]
  • Live [environmental sustainability]
Grade Level:
3, 4, 5
Subject Areas:
Aboriginal Studies, Health and Physical Education, Mathematics, Science
Community Partners:
Our school works closely with the Ben Calf Robe Society to run a breakfast and lunch program in our school to ensure our students are provided with some food on a regular basis. This program is provided for free of charge to the students. The students would have an opportunity to learn about the importance of this program and the hard work that goes into planning frugal and healthy meals for the school population. Our principal (Emilie DeCorby) volunteers on the board of the society and would be able to provide specific contact information depending on the information needed.

The Snack Circle

The Snack Circle is a club for students in grades 3-5 where they would come in at lunch and make easy, kid-friendly, snacks. This simple activity would have a much deeper focus, as the children will learn about the importance of using local and natural foods as part of their Aboriginal philosophy embracing a love and respect for Mother Earth. Students in these grades (specifically chosen as they are part of a multi-age division that emphasizes building relationships as a support to academic success) would work together to make nutritional, environmentally practical snacks that they could share with classes in the school. As a primarily FNMI (First Nations, Metis, and Inuit school), our students are part of a population that is experiencing the disturbing rise of type 2 diabetes in children. As in many cultures, food is central to celebrations and relationship building in FNMI cultures. Our goal is to use this value to educate students on healthy, earth-friendly snacks that they can make as children and share with other students in their school, many of whom live without food security.

Update (March-30-13)

Our Snack Circle has started up! We had to limit the amount of students that could join due to the logistics of working with food, but there was a lot of interest... it seems food has a way of engaging children! So far we have made "3-Minute Apple Pie", "Chocolate Stuffed Raspberries", "Cat in the Hat Kabobs", "100 Day Trail Mix" and "Pepper Rainbows with Cauliflower Clouds". While we haven't been able to stick with only local foods (Fruits and Veggies can be tough to find in the midst of Edmonton's weather), but the students have learned to look at where food is from before eating it, and how to read labels to look for nutritional information. They have also tried foods that they had never eaten before, such as the "Cucumber Hummus Sandwiches". Only two students had eaten hummus before!
The Snack Circle has particularly enjoyed sharing the snacks they make with the other classes, especially since most of the Snack Circle members have siblings and/or cousins in the other classes. We are currently brainstorming the best snack to share at our Environmental Extravaganza the school is hosting for Earth Day. We will keep you updated!

Update (September-08-13)

Our Snack Circle was a success! Students absolutely loved it, which is always the first goal. They also tried so many new foods: hummus, different fruits and vegetables, and more! You know something must have gone right when students went home and we would receive phone calls for recipes, which due to the short recess times, were always quick and easy to provide!

As with all clubs that have a student-focus, as the Spring came around many of our students expressed interest in growing their own food after we spent so long emphasizing the importance of local foods. As such, our Snack Club also took on a bit of a "Gardening Club" component as well. While one class was working towards making a medicinal garden, our club was trying to prep our outdoor garden space for food products. By the end of the school year our Snack Circle had planted a blueberry bush, raspberry bush, peas, carrots, sunflowers, and pumpkins.

Unfortunately, with the return of fall many of our plants did not make it through the stormy summer. However, the students have expressed renewed interest in both the Snack and the Gardening component so we hope to continue the club with a more holistic focus this year. Perhaps through reflection and research with the students we can determine how to make our garden more sustainable throughout the summer in order to provide us with some food for our Snack Circle in the fall!