By Kevin J. Sabo
For the Advance
A long-time institution in the Paintearth County region is celebrating a fairly significant milestone in April.
Incorporated on April 23rd, 1981, Paintearth Community Adult Learning, then known as Paintearth Further Education, was formed.
While the name and program offerings have changed slightly over the last 40 years, the foundation upon which the organization was built has stayed the same.
“The premise has stayed the same,” said Paintearth Community Adult Learning Program Manager Cindy Heidecker.
“That of lifelong learning for the Paintearth region.”
Paintearth Community Adult Learning is funded through grants from Alberta Advanced Education, as well as funding through other regional partners, such as the County of Paintearth, the Town of Castor, the Town of Coronation, and Clearview Public Schools.
The primary focus of the organization is to offer adult programming in literacy, numeracy, and other foundational skills, such as English language classes, though those are by no means the only offerings.
Paintearth Community Adult Learning provides family programming through the Magic Carpet Ride program offered weekly in Castor, Coronation and Brownfield, and the Building Blocks program.
Workplace, community building courses, and general interest courses are also offered. These courses include First Aid, H2S, Firearms Safety, and a variety of crafting classes including the making of ‘Grinch’ trees at Christmas.
“Lifelong learning takes many forms,” said Heidecker.
While dealing with a bit of a pandemic-induced hit in offerings in 2020 and 2021, the organization usually offers 50 to 70 different courses each year.
Due to low numbers, some courses don’t end up running, but 40 to 50 classes a year are usually concluded, serving in between 300 and 400 students in the Paintearth region.
Paintearth Community Adult Learning runs classes from September to June every year, with the summers off.
While fewer courses are being run in person, due to the pandemic, Paintearth Adult Learning also offers a variety of online programming in partnership with Campus Central Alberta and Ed2Go.
“Because of our rural location, we’ve been no stranger to video meetings and online learning opportunities,” said Heidecker.
To celebrate the 40 years of Paintearth Community Adult Learning, Heidecker and her staff began a social media campaign on March 15th, with a new post everyday until April 23rd. Each of the posts share a different memory or picture of the organization.
“We’re going to finalize with a very special celebration on the 23rd,” said Heidecker.
Paintearth Community Adult Learning delivers course catalogues to people’s mailboxes three times a year. As well, course offerings can be found online at www.paintearthlearning.ca or by calling either of the offices at 403-578-3817 for the Coronation office, or 403-882-2080 for the Castor Office.