Brampton class spreads smiles with Superhero Coffee Cart
Katherine DeClerq, CTV News Toronto
Published Friday, March 22, 2019 8:24PM EDT
A special education teacher in Brampton has found a creative way to teach her students life skills while making them feel like superheroes.
Once a week, Katelyn Marciniak’s Grade 8 class wanders the halls of Earnscliffe Sr. Public School pushing a cart full of goodies for staff members. The sight of the cart, dubbed the Superhero Coffee Cart, brings a smile to the employees’ faces and is something they say they look forward to.
“There's one day that I had not such a good day going on, and my the kids said 'Mr. Sarjeant the coffee cart is here' and I actually physically jumped because they just light up my life,” said Grade 6 teacher Todd Sarjeant.
The idea for the Superhero Coffee Cart came about last year, and Marciniak says it has been a “phenomenal process.”
The students run all aspects of the weekly service, including coming up with a shopping list, taking public transportation to the store and making the tasty treats. Marciniak says the class always has a surprise menu item like chocolate chip cookies or cupcakes.
The idea of the program is to teach real-life skills that go beyond the school environment.
“I think one of the biggest assets of this program is how it's built up my students’ confidence,” Marciniak said. “My students are less shy than they were, they have no trouble telling staff how much things cost, and they’re working on that mental math piece.”
Once a week, usually on a Thursday, her students walk from classroom to classroom, serving coffee, snacks and baked goods to the school’s staff.
“I really enjoy the product. The coffee is primo,” Sarjeant said.
Joanne Connoly says her son Jacob, who has autism and gets anxious in social situations, has blossomed after being part of the program.
“As a mom of a child with special needs, you're unsure of what the future is going to be like,” she said. “Even though I know that he's got a lot of great skills, it's really great for everybody else to be able to see it as well. I'm really hoping that employers take note of that.”
The money collected by the kids helps pay for future class experiences. Marciniak thinks similar programs could be adopted in other classrooms.
“I think it's a fantastic program that I think could be successful at any school, she said. “I think the life skills are incredibly important, not just for our special needs students but all students in terms of being able to cook, in terms of personal safety in the kitchen, in terms of learning public transit and in terms of those social skills and interactions with others.”
With files from CTV News TOronto's Michelle Dube