Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra – PhilKids

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


Classroom-based after-school program

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



3:00 pm - 4:30 pm, Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and/or Thursdays

Possibility to continue until the end of June



In-person at Falconridge School and Keeler Elementary


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.

Program Learning Outcomes

  • Examine a variety of approaches to teaching and learning in non-traditional educational settings
  • Examine how educators apply teaching concepts in their daily work
  • Examine how teaching and learning take place in other contexts
  • Gain experience working with youth in a classroom setting
  • Gain experience working with youth in a small group setting

Werklund Dates and Times

FALL 2023 (Application is now closed.)

  • Werklund Fall 2023 Wrap-Up Session: Friday, December 8, 5:00 pm - 6:00 pm (Zoom)
  • Fall 2023 Placements End: mid-December


  • Winter 2024 application will open on November 20, 2024.
  • Werklund Winter 2024 Orientation: Monday, December 11, 5:00 pm - 6:00 pm (Zoom) 
  • Winter 2024 Placements Start: early January (program dependent)
  • Werklund Winter 2024 Check-In Session: Monday, January 29 at
    • 9:30 am - 10:30 am (in-person) or
    • 3:30 pm - 4:30 pm (Zoom)
  • Werklund Winter 2024 Wrap-Up Session: Tuesday, March 12, 5:00 pm - 6:00 pm (Zoom)
  • Winter 2024 Placements End: mid-March (program dependent)

PhilKids Dates and Times

  • Phone Interview with CPO Staff: Time TBD based on student availability
  • Orientation and Training:TBA; January 2024
  • PhilKids Sessions: 3:00 pm - 4:30 pm
    • Mondays/Wednesdays at Falconridge School
    • Tuesdays/Thursdays at Keeler Elementary
  • 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 volunteering 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 student experiences 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 community placement experience and to guide improvements for the program.

Service-Learning group

Winter 2024 applications are now closed.

Interested in applying for a future semester?

  1. Log on to Elevate and go to My Werklund Experiences > Courses/Programs
  2. Find the Service-Learning program and click Apply
  3. Complete the Service-Learning Application

Download an application guide here.

Apply on Elevate!

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

Service-Learning Participant