It is said that good things come in threes but sometimes twos are even better. This week a pair of powerful teacher reports reached us through the EdCan network, both from Stavely Elementary School in Southern Alberta, on the traditional lands of the Blackfoot Confederacy.
The first is from teacher Julaine Guitton, and her intro sets the stage for what was about to happen in her classroom:
On the morning of September 30, 2016 I wore an orange shirt to school. I had received an e-mail about Orange Shirt Day, including a short video, and I decided to wear orange and talk to my students about residential schools and reconciliation during our Social Studies time. I showed them the video, and the looks on their faces told me that they had questions. They asked me things like, “Is this for real?” and “Did this really happen in Canada?” ..
Click on her reflection below to see what happened next!
Our Journey Into Reconciliation
The second report is by Ira Provost, an Indigenous educator who is the Program Coordinator or Administrator of First Nations, Métis and Inuit (FNMI) Education Programs for the Southern Alberta school district.
If you are an educator looking to tell your administration or school board about the benefits of Project of Heart, Ira’s reflections make a powerful case. First he sets out the problem:
Meaningful engagement with the Indigenous community means taking the time to develop a relationship and nurturing that relationship for mutually beneficial success.
According to many anecdotal comments from the local Indigenous parents I’ve heard from over the years in schools, and from being a parent myself, school personnel do not take enough time to get to know the Indigenous community.
And after Ira had witnessed the POH exercise:
“I was greatly impressed and, like the other invited FNMI guests, was blown away by what was presented and what we had heard!
Below is Ira Provost’s compelling report in his own words.
Stavely Elementary School’s Project of Heart