"I got the email from Joanne, the kindergarten teacher, and I told her we don't usually go to schools and teach students this young - it's usually high school students - but after having a look at their blog and seeing what they've been doing, I was just blown away," said St. Clair College Fashion Design coordinator Elaine Chatwood.
Jocelyne Brent, early childhood teacher in the kindergartner classroom at Dr. David Suzuki Public School, said a few years ago, a 'Dress Shop' learning centre was added to their curriculum after a student expressed interest in learning more about fashion.
"These students are so interested in bringing materials and textures together," said Brent. "And the wonderful thing about the Dress Shop learning centre is all the curriculum met through it - like the fine motor skills, the measuring and the creativity."
The students work with fabric and most are able to align material to make seams and sew in together on mannequins to create outfits. Their teacher, Joanne Pizzuto, blogs about their fashion fun and shared it with Chatwood, asking if she and some of her fashion students could come for a day of mentoring.
"We're so excited to have this expertise from St. Clair College here," said Brent. "Us kindergarten teachers, we bring what we know to the learning, but to have experts come and really be able to work with the students on this, and to have this community partnership, it's very exciting."
Chatwood said four Fashion Design students and two instructors attended the class to provide some fashion workshops. The kindergarten students got a chance to practice their sewing, cutting fabric and creating mini-outfits, designing dresses made of various fabrics and presenting a fashion show.
"They're really advanced," said Chatwood. "It's great that they're doing all this hands-on stuff, because that's what the college is all about."
Brent said although it's in the far future for the young students, she and the other kindergarten teachers talked about St. Clair College and the importance of post-secondary education.
"One of our discussions when we talked to the children about the design students coming, we talked about what college is, what university is, and how beyond what they're learning here, they'll go on to learn other things," said Brent, who graduated from St. Clair College with a Diploma in Early Childhood Education.
"They've got options - university or college - but a lot of times college is put on the back burner, so we want them to know that you can do either one," added Chatwood. She said the workshops were a fun experience for both the college students and kindergartners and she hopes to return next year.