The Cause

Inspired by El-Sistema, Phil-Kids is an after school music program and learning environment designed to fuel and support the empowerment of children through the exploration of music. PhilKids offers elementary students (ages 6-10) from two high needs Calgary Schools the opportunity to learn directly from musicians of the Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra. These music teachers develop a rapport of trust and respect with their students by closely working together twice a week over the school months.

PhilKids was designed to make quality music education – and its associated benefits – more accessible in Calgary. Families with low socioeconomic status (SES) are often unable to afford the costs associated with private music lessons. As such, publicly funded music education programs (i.e. in schools) represent important channels through which low SES children access music teachers and instruments. Unfortunately, the quality of Alberta’s public music education has declined in recent years due to government cutbacks. Alberta teachers no longer receive any specialized training in music education and need only a Bachelor of Education degree and general teaching certificate to teach music in schools. These changes disproportionately affect children from low SES families, for whom the costs of hiring an experienced and professional music educator remain unaffordable.

PhilKids will go ahead online for the 2021-2022 school year.   
Pivoting to a digital offering will allow us to continue to offer the program to current students with the opportunity to extend the reach of PhilKids to more students safely and efficiently. 
PhilKids teachers and staff will produce content posted to an online portal once a week (Tuesday) in preparation for an interactive online class (Thursday.) The Tuesday content will be no longer than 20 minutes, and the interactive lesson on Thursday may be 30 minutes. The total weekly student commitment would be no longer than one hour in total to best support teachers and temper screen time. 
Content will be in line and build on skills already developed in the PhilKids curriculum and may be used as a resource during regular school time, or as an extra-curricular activity.  Content will also include activities that students report back on, so that there is time spent digesting and implementing skills away from the computer screen. 
The recordings will be done in-house using Calgary Philharmonic equipment.

Who Will it Benefit?

Philkids makes the following impact in the Calgary community:
• 73 students from Keeler and Falconridge Elementary Public School were enrolled in, and benefited from, the
PhilKids program during the last school year.
• The parents / guardians of 73 children received free after-school care in a city region with a high concentration of low-income households.
• around 60 free online music education classes / music lessons will be held at Keeler and Falconridge Elementary Public Schools. These lessons make music and world-class musicians accessible to Calgary families who might not otherwise be able to afford such access.
• Thousands of children and many other schools will have free access to Philkids Portal, a free online portal that allows teachers in the Calgary Board of Education and Calgary Catholic School District to access our music education resources during class time. Last year 138 schools had access to the portal and 18 schools had regular access at least twice a week.