Early this year, Maple Creek Public School (Maple, ON), pulled out all the stops and participated in a Project of Heart learning piece that we couldn’t be more proud of. If you’re a teacher scrolling through this post, you will find the report on Maple Creek’s learning journey a valuable learning resource as a case is made for why it was important for Maple Creek Public to do Project of Heart, then states how they did it and the preparation that was involved. It concludes with a description of their collaborative, school-wide mural display “Bricks of Belonging”, but not before explaining how and what they fund-raised for…’Geronimo Henry’s Dream’. Teacher Heather Naftolin-brandes concludes her school’s report thusly:
“This Bricks of Belonging art piece represents Maple Creek Public Schools’ commitment to reconciliation in Canada. It was a school wide initiative that acknowledges the horrifying and
traumatic effects of the Residential School system on Indigenous Peoples and was created by sharing and learning the truth about our collective history.
As a school, we continue to educate ourselves about the long lasting impact of these schools and are dedicated to learning about Indigenous Peoples both past and present through building relationships. Encouraging children to feel proud and comfortable with their identities is integral to their well being and school is a place where we strongly believe they must feel they belong.”
A heart-felt thank you to Maple Creek Public School in the York Region District School Board for your ongoing contributions to building relationships within your classrooms and beyond. Chi meegwetch.
Students from Westmount Public School continue their reconciliation journey by bringing candy grams and a message of solidarity to Dennis Franklin Cromarty (DFC) on the most loving day of the year, Valentine’s Day. They also delivered a $1,000.00 cheque along with the candygrams to top off the day! Thunder Bay Newswatch has a great article about this event and the other excellent reconciliation initiatives that are going on within the Thunder Bay District School Board.
The young advocates have written some amazing letters as part of The Caring Society’s Have a Heart Day that hundreds of schools across Canada participate in to pressure the Government of Canada to stop discriminating against First Nations students. Beware Canada. The students of Dennis Franklin Cromarty have vocal allies and they are tired of our leaders not carrying out their responsibilities!
Thank you Westmount Public for showing your love on Valentine’s Day. Project of Heart dittoes what your teacher, Jaime Murdoch says, “We are very proud of the interest and the commitment from our students. Makes you feel like you can make a difference.” And you are. Chi meegwetch!
On May 24, 2019, approximately 80 students at Bayside Secondary School took part in the nationally recognized “Project of Heart”, an inquiry-based, hands-on project that reveals truth about the history and legacy of Canada’s Indian Residential Schoolsystem. Students painted wooden tiles to commemorate the thousands of Indigenous children who died as a result of their experiences at the schools after being torn from their homes, many as young as 5 years old. The edges of each tile are painted black to represent the mourning of thousands of children who lost their lives because of the depredations of the IRS. Each tile projects a word or a symbol to demonstrate the learner’s heart-felt response to what they have learned and to act as a gesture of reconciliation to the families and communities to whom these children belonged.
Students from 6 English classes, plus a group of grade 12 students who took the NBE3C course last year, engaged in this artistic project with meaning and purpose, many feeling compelled to explain the significance of their tiles and paint more. The “Project of Heart” has definitely contributed to enriching the school culture at Bayside Secondary School. It has also helped us further understand the devastating impacts the Canadian government’s policy of forced assimilation was.
This hands on project has allowed students to become a part of the reconciliACTION process which calls Canadians to action, through social justice endeavours, to change our present and future history collectively. With over 500 tiles painted, this beautiful mosaic has formed the new tabletop in Bayside Secondary School’s parlour, a meeting place where people come together to solve problems and reconcile differences on a regular basis. Each year, students enrolled in the Indigenous Studies program will contribute to the tiles on the table until it is complete.
On May 31, 2019, students attended a presentation by Tanya Maracle-King, Odawa, Crane Clan and member of Wikwemkoong First Nation. Tanya is an intergenerational survivor of parents who attended Indian Residential Schools. She is a skilled presenter, well- versed in many areas involving First Nations people. Students took part in a smudging ceremony to begin the morning and had an opportunity to ask Tanya questions and hear her stories before presenting her with their tiles as a gesture of reconciliation.
A steadily growing initiative can be observed taking root in public spaces across Canada since the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) issued its report in 2015. It’s a collection of local campaigns that seek to address the way Canadians think about their collective history in the light of what we now understand to be a century-long attempt by Canada to carry out cultural genocide on Indigenous peoples; this period is now known as the Indian Residential School (IRS) era. Continue reading The reconciliation plaques of Beechwood Cemetery→
On February 13th, Ottawa teachers Kim Bruton and Amanda Anderson presented Project of Heart at Connaught Public School’s Evening Towards Reconciliation. The event was put on by the school and parent council to continue a dialogue regarding Indigenous culture and history. The first part of the programme included a dinner, and keynote addresses by Peter Garrow and the Caring Society’s Daxton Reid. Continue reading POH honoured to be part of Connaught Public School’s Evening for Reconciliation→
April 24, 2017 was a special day for the Education Faculty at the University of Ottawa as experienced educators joined with BEd. Teacher Candidates to “teach them how to teach” Project of Heart to their future students. It was a “Teachers Teaching Teachers” seminar.
The seminar was organized by the Faculty of Education’s Director of Teacher Education, Dr. Nicholas Ng-A-Fook. Nicholas was aware of the strength of Project of Heart from past presentations, and this past term he created the opportunity to offer it as part of a teacher training symposium.
The students and staff at Ottawa’s Westboro Academy were honoured by the visit of a very special guest this past month, and they have a grade 5 student at the school by the name of Leo to thank for the event.
They made a what? Teacher Caroline Leppanen from Hewitt’s Creek Public School in Barrie, Ontario delighted us with her learners’ amazing creativity in this inspiring report:
My grade 6 class spent a great deal of time inquiring about Truth and Reconciliation, First Nations circle teachings, Grandfather teachings, and residential schools. We have completed our Project of Heart! And are excited to share it with you!
We will hold a dedication ceremony in September.We have shared our process via Twitter @leppanens_world
Our plan? The table will be placed in our Learning Commons. It will be a place for groups to come when they need to arrive at a consensus. It will be a place for people to come when they are in need of a restorative session. Its tiles all tell a story of my students’ learning. They will share these stories at the dedication ceremony.