Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra – PhilKids

Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra - Philkids

The Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra is a pillar of Calgary’s vibrant arts community and since 1955, has grown to be one of Canada’s most celebrated live music ensembles. The CPO serves as an active leader in the community providing educational performances and outreach opportunities for students, seniors, and other charitable organizations.

One of these opportunities, PhilKids, is inspired by Venezuela's El Sistema program, where students benefit from a social program taught through music. Students from grades 1 to 5 participate in music lessons led by musicians from the CPO. Teachers quickly develop a rapport of trust and respect with their students through close work twice a week over the school months. Pre-service teachers are invited to join PhilKids for this semester for Thursday lessons, working alongside CPO musicians to support and empower children through the exploration of music.


Best fit for students in their EDUC 400s or their non-education years

Working with students in Grades 1 - 5


Online/Google Classroom-based after-school program

Focus on music, the arts, and educating the whole child


3:00 pm - 4:30 pm Thursdays

Winter: January - March

20 hour time commitment

Possibility to continue until the end of June



Winter 2022: Sessions may be held in-person in 2022. Information on organizational vaccine requirements will be announced soon, please watch for updates. 


What's Involved

  • Participating pre-service teachers will work with CPO musicians to support PhilKids online one afternoon a week.
  • PhilKids' emphasis is on developing students' social skills through music. Pre-service teachers are especially encouraged to work with the instructors to support social learning in the classroom.


  • Pre-service teachers need a current Police Information Check with Vulnerable Sector Screening (issued after July 1, 2021). Students who do not already have a police check should begin this process at their local police station as soon as possible, as police checks often take 4-6 weeks to process.
  • Pre-service teachers will be asked to participate in a phone interview before attending the first session.
  • A musical background, while helpful, is not necessary. Participating pre-service teachers will instead serve in a supporting role in the classroom, drawing on their education background and experiences working with children and youth.

Werklund Dates and Times


Services Fair:  Thursday, September 8, 2022,  10 AM - 2 PM (in-person)

Applications Open: Thursday, September 8, 2022

Applications Close: Sunday, September 18, 2022

Werklund Orientation: Wednesday, September 21, 2022

  • AM: 11 AM - 12 NN (in-person)
  • PM:   2 PM -  3 PM (via Zoom)

Werklund Check-In Session #1: Monday, October 24, 2022

  • AM: 10 AM - 11 AM (in-person)
  • PM:   4 PM -  5 PM (via Zoom)

Werklund Check-In Session #2/Wrap-Up: Wednesday, December 7, 2022

  • PM:  5 PM - 6 PM (via Zoom)




Applications Open: Monday, November 28, 2022

Applications Close: Sunday, December 11, 2022

Werklund Orientation: Wednesday, December 14, 2022

  • AM: 10 AM - 11 AM  (in-person)
  • PM:   2 PM -   3 PM  (via Zoom)

Werklund Check-In Session #1: Wednesday, February 1, 2023

  • AM:  10 AM - 11 AM (in-person)

Werklund Check-In Session #2: Thursday, February 2, 2023

  • PM:  2 PM - 3 PM (via Zoom)

Werklund Check-In Session #3/Wrap-Up: Wednesday, March 15, 2023

  • PM:  5 PM - 6 PM (via zoom)

PhilKids Dates and Times

  • Phone Interview with CPO Staff: Time TBD based on student availability
  • Orientation and Training: Time and Location TBD based on student and coordinator availability
  • PhilKids Sessions: 3:00 pm - 4:30 pm Thursdays
  • Group Reflection Sessions: TBD  (1-hour session, based on your schedule)
  • Students are invited to participate for the Fall and/or Winter semester, and are welcome to continue into the Spring semester based on individual interest/availability.

Making Connections

  • Throughout the semester, pre-service teachers will curate their service experiences using a creative medium (e.g., photos, art, storyboarding, videos, etc.) that best reflects their experiences in the program. Your creative reflections will form part of a public showcase of Werklund’s service-learning program later in the year.
  • Pre-service teachers will participate in 2 group meetings: one at the mid-point and another at the end of their placement (1 hour each). These group meetings provide pre-service teachers with opportunities to reflect on the service-learning experience, and to guide improvements for the program.

Applications for Fall 2022 will open in September 2022.

These service-learning experiences are fantastic opportunities to support teacher education and to relate what we learn to actual classrooms.

Service-Learning Participant