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 Teacher Candidates heard the stories from survivors Mary Lou Iahtail and Chris Herodier Snowboy and were given detailed guidance on how to offer Project of Heart.
There were five experienced teachers leading the event, and all of them have had a great deal of experience with Project of Heart in a variety of venues. Michael Bernards from Lester B. Pearson Catholic High School, Amanda Anderson from Woodroffe High School (Ottawa-Carleton District School Board – OCDSB) and Kim Bruton from Sir Robert Borden High School (OCDSB) were the experts from the Ottawa area.
The other facilitators were Warren McBride, who taught for 27 years at the Alternate Program of the OCDSB and is presently a part-time professor at the Faculty of Education, and Sylvia Smith (recently retired from the Alternate Program of the OCDSB) and founder of Project of Heart.
The seminar was assisted by second year BEd. Teacher Candidates Olivia Seillier, Jessy Saikali, Tessa Foster and Jill Harper.
Survivor Mary Lou Iahtail, a Cree elder, smudged the tiles at the end of the session.
Chris Herodier Snowboy was one of the original Residential School survivors to do Project of Heart in 2008, and he rounded out the training session by playing the guitar and singing the song he wrote “Child of Innocence”.
Project of Heart congratulates the Teacher Candidates for successfully completing the seminar, and we look forward to hearing their reports as they go on teach Project of Heart in schools across the region and province.