Incorporating Aboriginal perspectives is one of our priorities at École Belmont. As a staff, we have addressed this in our planning process. Our educational leave group took a leadership role by engaging in their own personal learning, by sharing with the staff as a whole through professional development and co-teaching, and by extending the invitation to other French Immersion teachers in the division to work collaboratively this school year. Why are these things important to us? A story shared by one of our staff members answers this question perfectly. She describes a conversation she overheard while a parent was looking at the items in the display case in our front foyer with his children.
I heard him ask his boys, "Do you see that? Do you remember what that is? We used that when we smudged. What did we use? Do you remember? We didn't use sage, we used sweet grass. Remember? We went for a walk, we picked it ourselves, then we dried it."
Our goal is to create a space where all members of our school community see themselves reflected in positive and meaningful ways. Here are some of the things we've done in response to this priority.
As a staff…
- "Nous n'étions que des enfants" –film and discussion about the history and impact of Residential Schools
- Discussion on the role of French Immersion educators as allies to Aboriginal Immersion educators inspired by the work of John Ralston Saul
- Traditional Aboriginal games workshop
- Exploring the Seven Sacred Teachings and developing French language toolkits to be used in the classroom
- Co-teaching project where teachers partnered together to deliver lessons
- Selection of books for our school library
- Survey of staff to determine needs
With our students…
- Circle of Courage
- Nature Artists
- Penpals with students in Iqaluit
- Art inspired by Norval Morrisseau
- Character Study through the Medicine Wheel
- Drumming Workshops
With our community…
- Smudging and Storytelling by Elder Ruth Norton at our annual Books for Breakfast
- Creating stronger links between our annual Festival Belmont and the Métis culture
- Métis Jigging Club
- Elders' Day