Cougar Creek Elementary 22-23


Cougar Creek Elementary is located on the unceded and shared traditional territory of the Katzie, Kwantlen and Semiahmoo Coast Salish Peoples.

The Students of Cougar Creek enjoy a sense of community that they have created. Our school community members find opportunities to make connections with one another through play and learning within and outside the classroom.  

Exploring cultures and connecting to students heritage is a big part of our learning here at Cougar Creek Elementary. One of the most important ways we do this, is through reading. Students use their reading skills to help them make sense of what they are learning. They use their reading skills, and personal lived experiences to help them understand subjects being taught, and to understand themselves and the world around them. Our students enjoy connecting to their heritage through the various school-wide events we have throughout the year.  

Show your PAWS!

Our learners are at the centre of our work at Cougar Creek Elementary. We, as a school community, use our PAWS to help us learn to be positive contributors to our community.  

Celebrating Learning at Cougar Creek 

Cougars showing their 'PAWS!'

Connecting to reading with art.

Students working on their social emotional learning. 

A cultural celebration of Ramadan. 

Exploring the world around us to help us learn and grow. 

Over the past years our community has focused on social emotional learning and becoming self-aware students who are mindful of the world around them. To reach this goal we have been working actively toward reconciliation and being supportive members of our community. 

Cougar Creek Reconciliation Promise

Within this commitment to reconciliation and furthering our social emotional wellness, we explore our learning and focus on community building with students, staff and parents.  

 We aim to have an engaged and contributing community of students, staff and parents who collectively, make Cougar Creek an amazing place to learn each day.  We believe 'you cannot belong to a community you do not contribute to’, we want each and every one of our Cougar Creek community members to be active participants in their community . 


When learning at Cougar Creek, we focus on reading and literacy through all subject areas. As a staff we encourage our students to read each day, at school and at home. We engage students with books that help them connect to their personal and cultural identities and lived experiences. When students are within and outside the classroom, they are given opportunities to connect with each other and the world around them through literacy. 

Our learners use personal experience and knowledge to connect to text and deepen their understanding of self, community, and the world. (Curricular Competency, Grade 5).  

  • I can understand others better when I know myself.  

  • I can connect my experience to what I am reading in class. 

  • I can see people with my experience within my community and the world.  

Through literature circles our students have the opportunities to read literature that connects with their lives and cultures. They have the opportunity to see themselves and their experiences represented within books. By seeing themselves and their experiences represented in the books they are reading, students are engaged in learning and develop confidence to share their learning in small groups. Students discuss, connect, and expand their learning with their peers.  

Connecting and engaging with others - "Student engage in informal and structured conversations in which they listen, contribute, develop understanding and relationships, and learn to consider diverse perspectives." - BC Curriculum - Core Competency - Communication

Providing our students with opportunities to share and learn with from one another are vital. From these opportunities students become leaders within peer groups and develop their confidence and motivation to do well. Students are able to discuss, ask questions, predict, connect and synthesize ideas from their reading and personal experiences; empowering students to take risks and become leaders within their classrooms and the wider school community. These small group learning activities kickstart students to broaden their experiences build upon their background knowledge.


“At its simplest, literacy is the way that we interact with the world around us, how we shape it and are shaped by it. It is how we communicate with others via reading and writing, but also by speaking, listening, and creating. It is how we articulate our experience in the world and declare, “We Are Here!”” – Amber Peterson, National Council of Teachers of English

At Cougar Creek Elementary, our goal is to foster a community of readers who are engaged in books and literature. We strive to create an inclusive reading community that values and highlights students’ cultural and lived experiences in the literature we have available to them. Our goal is to have our readers understand and feel confident about the material they are learning throughout the day, for us this includes a focus on activating prior knowledge to help students with their comprehension of text and the ability to be active participants in their learning journeys by sharing and communicating with those around them.  

‘…prior knowledge allows readers to comprehend more deeply and quickly as they are better able to make connections and make meaning.’ – A Guide to Effective Literacy Instruction, Education Ministry of Ontario

 ‘Exploring stories and other texts helps us understand ourselves and make connections to others and to the world.’ – BC Curriculum, Big Ideas, English Language Arts 5 & 6 

Our goal at Cougar Creek is to empower our learners by activating prior knowledge, enabling them to be engaged and confident members of their classroom communities. We aim to inspire students to share their learning and knowledge with their fellow students and the adults in our school community. Students who are equipped with prior knowledge can connect and engage more meaningfully to text. We believe empowered, confident students  are better able to become proficient readers and active participants in their learning.  

Providing students with opportunities to build background knowledge within and outside the classroom is paramount to their development as readers. Providing students with engaging, high interest books, using digital and other media sources to build capacity and knowledge, and taking students outside the classroom to explore their local community are all ways in which students are Cougar Creek learn throughout the year.


Our goal for students at Cougar Creek is for them to be prepared and engaged learners who are ready take in new information in the classroom and beyond. We are working to create engaged, critical thinkers who ask questions and can synthesize information to form new connections and be successful in their daily learning. To ensure we are supporting our learners where they are now, we continue to provide students with high interest books and learning materials that connect to their culture and lived experiences.  

 As we continue to support our Emerging and Developing readers, we reach them through supportive structures and by providing resources that are of high interest and build background knowledge. We will front load  Emerging and Developing readers to support them with classroom content.  

We know students who are confident in their abilities are vocal in the classroom and share their thinking. Students who have a strong source of prior knowledge are more likely to speak up and share their ideas and take risks with their learning.  

Students speaking about sharing ideas in class:

‘When I think I know the answer then I put up my hand.’ 

‘I like to answer questions I can think about knowing the information from before.’  

‘I try to think about what I know about what I’m learning already then when my teacher asks a question I can say it.’  

Students "acquire information from a variety of sources, including people, print materials, and media; this may involve listening, viewing, or reading, and requires understanding of how to interpret information." - BC Curriculum - Core Competency - Communication

In exploring this idea within our cohort, asking the question: If we font-load students during targeted instruction, using supportive structures, with information about an upcoming classroom lesson will students be more engaged and participatory during the lesson? 

Here, our data demonstrates how two groups of students performed during a classroom lesson. In the data, you can see when the results of targeted instruction, prior to the general classroom lesson. These front-loaded learners performed significantly better those who did not receive complete a lesson with background knowledge prior.


What stands out when looking closely at these two results, is that the students who received the targeted instruction prior to the classroom lesson performed much better. They were able to take the time to synthesize their learning and understanding and bring this confidence with them into the classroom.   

Moving forward we will continue to provide students with the learning and experiences that are necessary to build their library of personal knowledge. This can be done through targeted instruction, experiences outside the classroom and everyday lessons that take place within our school.  As we continue to go deeper to support our students, we understand allowing students the time and experience to build prior knowledge and connecting learning to their personal lived experiences and culture is crucial to their ability to demonstrate learning in the classroom.  

We will continue to provide more opportunities for parent engagement at school events. Centering events for families around fostering a love of reading and gaining skills to be an ally in their child's learning journey. These literacy events will be centered around the cultural heritage and lived experiences of our students, benefiting our students and their families while also improving and solidifying our inclusive school community and school culture.  

Surrey Schools

Formed in 1906, the Surrey School District currently has the largest student enrolment in British Columbia and is one of the few growing districts in the province. It is governed by a publicly elected board of seven trustees.

The district serves the cities of Surrey and White Rock and the rural area of Barnston Island.

Surrey Schools
14033 - 92 Avenue Surrey,
British Columbia V3V 0B7