Bishop Tonnos students make mud kitchens

Bishop Tonnos students make mud kitchens for elementary schools
Posted on 10/18/2023
BT student building mud kitchen

A cross-curricular project involving Bishop Tonnos Catholic Secondary School and elementary schools continues to build new play-based learning opportunities.

Under the direction of past Technological Department Head John Ivkovic at Bishop Tonnos, senior students enrolled in the Specialist High Skills Major (SHSM) construction class were involved in designing and constructing outdoor mud kitchens.

The project was made possible through the Ontario Youth Apprenticeship Program and SHSM funding. It was first initiated back in 2021 when Ivkovic connected with St. Ann (Ancaster) Catholic Elementary School to build one mud kitchen for the school’s Kindergarten classes.

"SHSM programs offer our grade 11 and 12 students the opportunity to focus their learning on a career path that interests them,” said Secondary School Consultant Sarah Bereziuk.

“The goal is to create a real, authentic, and engaging experience that supports student achievement and engagement to the highest level,” added Ivkovic, who now acts as the Coordinator Consultant for OYAP.

“When I introduced the project to my students, we looked at the tools and different specialized equipment we had that would allow us to put on those personal touches.”

The functional, yet thoughtful, final design includes plenty of storage and counter space for imaginative play, hooks for pots/pans, bin inserts for muddy creations, a faux stovetop, and an etched school logo on the backsplash.

Due to the success of St. Ann’s mud kitchen, Ivkovic expanded the project last year to include an additional 16 schools after he received multiple inquiries.

“With the green light and approval from Health and Safety and the HWCDSB Directors Council in March of 2023, the 22 grade 11 and 12 construction students were hard at work by April.”

Building off the experience and lessons learned during the first project allowed Ivkovic and students to fine tune the process.

“We discussed the ‘Kaizen’ philosophy, and how small positive changes to our past practices can reap big benefits. You can say that we embraced a growth mindset, collaborated as a group from the beginning of the semester to the very end.”

“One of the key elements to our success was the decision to adopt a concurrent manufacturing process where different stages of the mud-kitchen construction were happening simultaneously. Students would rotate through the various stations to get the full experience, hindsight being what it is I wouldn't have changed a thing.”

Last month, the mud tables were delivered to their forever school homes.

“I'm not sure who enjoyed the experience more, the students that built them or the FDK students for whom they were built!”

However, the success of the project, Ivkovic stressed, was due to the numerous staff at different levels who were vital in the support of initial implementation, procurement of the many supplies, logistics and shipping.

“It was truly a group effort.”

“In my new role, I look forward to expanding my support of various initiatives including the promotion of skilled trades, co-op's, SHSM's, apprenticeship opportunities and more throughout the HWCDSB and our community.”

BT student builds mud kitchenBT students build mud kitchensmud kitchens in BT shopkinder kids playing at mud kitchenKinder kids playing at mud kitchenkinder kids playing at mud kitchenkinder kids playing at mud kitchen