The Schools Committee of K-W Oktoberfest Inc. works to incorporate the multicultural aspects of Oktoberfest with the Ontario school curriculum. For the past 30 years, thousands of students in the region have anticipated their annual school Kitchener-Waterloo Oktoberfest assembly, featuring Onkel Hans, Miss Oktoberfest and many talented performers. We offered these programs to as many schools as possible; however, due to the logistical limitations with the format of the program, we were unable to make commitments to the number of schools wishing to participate. As a result we’ve createed our new K-W Oktoberfest Inc. Schools Program, “Canada’s Links to the World – Bavarian Cultural Connections” – an authentic learning experience that is entertaining, engaging and educational. Music, instruments, “schunkeling”, Maypole dance lessons, Oktoberfest history and German language lessons, and even a little Bavarian nutrition break (the pretzel) have these students ziggy-zaggying all the way back to their school busses, but only after Onkel Hans and Miss Oktoberfest make their anxiously awaited appearances.
This new program is an interactive half-day event where Grade 6 students are able to experience and explore the Gemütlichkeit and cultural sights, sounds, and tastes of Oktoberfest; while connecting the festival’s origin to the history of Oktoberfest and the immigration of German people to Waterloo Region. The Oktoberfest Schools Program event is accompanied by a cross-curricular unit plan that covers expectations found in the Grade 6 Ontario Curriculum. It includes: Language Arts, Visual Art, Music, Dance and Social Studies lessons; which can engage students in the classroom and spark excitement for Kitchener-Waterloo Oktoberfest, occurring in the weeks following the event. This program allows us to pass on the passion and ignite the love that we all have for Kitchener-Waterloo Oktoberfest in patrons from a very young age!
Many volunteers on the Schools Committee have been volunteering with K-W Oktoberfest Inc. for decades – some since the festival began – and some of our volunteers have been recruited in the last few years as we incurred a need for people with a teaching background. This program would not be possible without all of these volunteers and our talented performers, who have hopefully graced you with their presence sometime during your Kitchener-Waterloo Oktoberfest involvement. Notably Deb Misener-Jones, Lindsay Jones, and Carl and Mary-Jo Schropp have been some favourites during our Schools Program events over the last few years, and at school assemblies for many, many years.
We are continuously working to improve and grow our Oktoberfest Schools Program and welcome new volunteers with experience in education, with children, and/or in program or event planning, or individuals who would simply like to contribute their unique skills to creating the best programming possible for our participants.