Students from A.L. Horton Elementary learn about the history of St. Nikolai and Ukrainian Christmas.

Students from A.L. Horton Elementary learn about the history of St. Nikolai and Ukrainian Christmas.

Sherwood Park, AB. — Elk Island Public Schools (EIPS) students are enriching their language learning experience through two Language and Culture (LAC) programs—one in German and one in Ukrainian. The programs are offered from kindergarten through Grade 6, introducing students to another language through instruction, activities and cultural celebrations.

“I like how we get to make food, like borscht and kolach. Kolach is a braided bread where you have dough and you split it into three pieces and you braid them,” says Shelby Crowther, a Grade 4 student at A.L. Horton Elementary. “Last year we went to a museum to see Ukrainian beading and sewing and this year we went to a Ukrainian dance concert by Viter.”

LAC programs benefit students in numerous ways. Second-language learning can improve listening skills, communication in English and test scores in other subjects, such as mathematics. These programs also promote acceptance and appreciation of other cultures and help many students learn about their own heritage.

“When students first start to explore their environment, they do so using language to make connections to themselves and their immediate surroundings,” says Pia Jampen, a German LAC teacher at Mills Haven Elementary. “When they learn a second or third language, their world expands, their critical thinking skills take a leap, and their understanding of self and their place in an interconnected society becomes more multifaceted.”

Each LAC program has its unique advantages. For example, classes in the German LAC program embark on a language journey that ties in famous German fairy tales, gummy bears, and the Berlin and Bernese Bären. Meanwhile, students in the Ukrainian LAC program immerse themselves in the culture, from baking paska and babka with their families to decorating pysanka for Easter. In the spring, classes visit the Ukrainian Cultural Heritage Village.

“Whether it's learning about German traditions like the origins of our beloved Advent calendars and Christmas trees or exploring iconic Austrian artists like Hundertwasser, taking part in the German Language and Culture program allows students to inquire, express themselves in novel ways, and wonder about places far and wide,” adds Jampen.

“We have lots of students. In kindergarten we started with nine and now fourteen students enjoy the Ukrainian program—in Grade 1 there’s 32 students enrolled,” says Panna Svitlana Fedorouk, an educational assistant instructor at A.L. Horton Elementary. “This year, we’re visiting seniors lodges and the residents there are really excited to see the kids. They’ll make crafts and sing together. I’m preparing students on how to use the words they've learned in Ukrainian.”

In addition to LAC programs, students can learn various second languages at schools throughout the Division—including French, Spanish, German and Ukrainian. “It’s really fun to learn about another language, other cultural events and how Germany is different than Canada,” says Asia Lozeron, a Grade 4 student at Mills Haven Elementary.

LAC programs are currently offered at the following locations:

  • German: Mills Haven Elementary, Sherwood Park
  • Ukrainian: A.L. Horton Elementary, Vegreville

Interested students and families are invited to attend an upcoming Ukrainian LAC information session:

Ukrainian LAC Information Session:
Date: Jan. 30, 2024
Time: 5:30 p.m.
Location: A.L. Horton Elementary; library
                 5037-48 Ave., Vegreville, AB
RSVP by Jan. 29, 2024
    Phone: 780-632-3313

New and returning students may apply to a school offering an LAC program during the registration process beginning in February. For key registration dates, see the EIPS Guide to Registration 2024-25.


Elk Island Public Schools is one of Alberta’s largest school divisions, serving approximately 17,750 students in 42 schools. We are proud to be an integral part of our communities, including Sherwood Park, Fort Saskatchewan, Vegreville, Strathcona and Lamont counties, and the western portion of the County of Minburn.


German Language and Culture Program
Ukrainian Language and Culture Program
EIPS Language Programs



For more information contact:
Laura McNabb, Director, Communication Services, EIPS 780-417-8204 cell 780-405-4902