Together Apart Rock Art Project

Brent Kennedy students stay connected through art

Some students are back in school this week and learning what the practice of physical distancing looks like in the classroom setting. While attendance is varied from school to school and even classroom to classroom, most that have made the decision to return are happy to be back and making connections with teachers and classmates once again.

Throughout the 9 weeks that in-school learning was suspended, many schools and teachers throughout the district found creative ways to keep students feeling connected, despite the physical distancing measures that kept them away.

The Brent Kennedy 5/6 class, with the help of their teacher Tamara Johnson and student teacher Candice Mangione, devised an art project called ‘Together Apart’ where students were asked to create unique rock art pieces to be placed along the Slocan Valley Rail Trail behind the school. The project began with the 5/6 classroom, but quickly opened the invitation for the entire school community to participate.

The Slocan Valley Rail Trail runs right outside the elementary school and has served as an outdoor classroom for many years. A beautiful paved stretch of the trail runs from the South Slocan Village to Frog Peak Café in Crescent Valley. Students were instructed to bring their finished art pieces at their convenience to this section of the trail and place the painted rocks 2m apart on either side, a reminder of social distancing guidelines.

“Normally at this time of year, the school as a collective would start every morning with a short walk on the trail to start the day!” said teacher Tamara Johnson. Students that have returned to school will be able to still access the trail to see the work, ensuring they are following regular safety protocols. For those that have not returned, all are encouraged to walk the trail and take part in the Rock Art Scavenger hunt to find the artwork and even contribute their own pieces should they wish to.

“The project promotes getting outside, being active and creative, and everyone can participate!” said student teacher Candice Mangione, “And the decorated trail reminds us that we can remain connected, hopeful and resilient through this time.”

As a student from WKTEP (West Kootenay Rural Teacher Education Program), Candice wasn’t sure what her practicum was going to look like this spring. Fortunately, placement went ahead and student teachers around the district were able to contribute to support the at-home learning piece for students.

“Having to adapt to the conditions that the pandemic created for education, I’ve learned some valuable new skills and new delivery methods that I believe I’ll be able to use as a teacher in the future!”


For more information:

Shellie Maloff, Principal – Brent Kennedy Elementary

About the Board of Education of School District No. 8 (Kootenay Lake):

The Board of Education of School District No. 8 provides educational services to numerous diverse communities in the East & West Kootenays, including Crawford Bay, Creston, Kaslo, Meadow Creek, Nelson, Salmo, Slocan, South Slocan, Winlaw, Wynndel and Yahk. Its dedicated team focuses on providing the best possible educational opportunities for over 5,400 students and their families. Its mission is to focus on excellence for all learners in a nurturing environment.