For students at Vernon’s Mission Hill Elementary School, Saturday’s provincial election is a prime opportunity to learn about the democratic process.
After more than a week of lessons on local candidates, the voting process and other election topics, six classes from Grades 4-7 made their way to the voting booths — stationed conveniently at the head of their classroom.
Grade 5-6 teacher Chantz Fitchett said his students’ understanding and enthusiasm about the election grew noticeably over the past week.
“Taking an interest in politics early is very valuable,” he said. “And it hopefully gets them talking with their parents about the election, the process and who the kids are interested in among the different candidates in our district, as well as the provincial leaders too.”
The mock vote was an early opportunity for the students to think about the issues they care about. For Grade 6 student Emily Miles, health care and business support top the list. She’s also learned there’s more to a candidate than the platform of the party they run for.
“We’ve been learning about local candidates and we’ve been seeing where they stand with their party and how they can be different from their parties,” she said.
Grade 6 student Katie Flint said she’s learned that not all politicians are as bad as they’re made out to be — but she prefers candidates who “make doable promises.”
“Some parties talk about changing the whole province overnight,” she said.
Easton Quigley has noticed there’s often a difference between what politicians say and what they do.
“Once you look into it you realize there’s different layers to what they do,” the Grade 5 student said. “They make a lot of promises … but when you actually see what they’re doing, on their website even, it’s completely different.”
Were he old enough to vote this year, Quigley says he’d cast his ballot for whichever candidate is most likely to raise minimum wage and support retail workers during COVID.
“They’re working twice as hard, and they’re not getting paid as much,” he said.