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This section contains a small collection of stories (video(s), podcasts, news articles) that assist with capturing certain aspects of this programming.
Stories with Elder Darrell Breaker:
There are limitless learning opportunities outside the classroom walls. One such example can be found with a teacher and her students who can regularly be found out in nature along the Bow River in Southern Alberta. Cross-curricular connections weave naturally into this type of place-based programming including touching upon key learning objectives found in the Science, Social Studies, Math, Language Arts, Health, Physical Education, and Art curriculum. The curriculum comes to life with these inclusive, hands-on experiences. Curiosity and collaboration thrive in this space. Facilitating self-regulation and a natural sense of calm is another amazing aspect of this type of “out of the box” learning environment.
The Ik ka nutsi (which means to shine; to be bright in Blackfoot) Park Program took flight in the 2019-2020 school year). This partnership provides Grade 5 and 6 students from Carseland Elementary School with the opportunity to visit Wyndham Provincial Park on a regular basis.
A foundational aspect of this program has been to have an Elder from Siksika Nation share Blackfoot culture and Indigenous ways of knowing with the students. This program respects Indigenous values, knowledge, and worldviews
The students have been learning Blackfoot words, phrases and stories as they relate to nature and their experience at the park. Learning in a meaningful context helps students to learn and retain these Blackfoot words and phrases and use them on a regular basis.
The students develop a deeper connection and relationship to the land (gaining stewardship and ecological literacy skills). Students also gain a variety of health benefits from this program including:
-active living and physical fitness
-cultivating positive social relationships (collaboration, problem-solving and play)
-increasing self-confidence and resilience
This is an example of place-based learning in action. The students are authentically connecting to community and the landscape that they call home. Regular visits create a relationship to this space with Elder Darrell Breaker. It is this learning opportunity that captivates the students with a sense of wonder and sparks their natural curiosity. This place and the people here mean something very important to the students which results in complete engagement and dendrites firing. Connecting and learning in a meaningful context further nurtures a desire to protect a place that they care about deeply and to become positive change makers.
Community connections and partnerships are key to this type of programming. Elder Darrell Breaker, and Mrs. Joyce Doore guide the programming and their knowledge is the heart of each lesson. Feedback from a variety of community members has also been instrumental in this place-based programming. Elder Alvine Wolfleg Eaglespeaker, Elder Spike Sr. Eaglespeaker, and Spike Eaglespeaker Jr. from Siksika Nation, have also provided guidance, expertise and knowledge. Parent and guardian support and enthusiasm for this project has been essential in making this program successful. The support from Nutrien in believing in this program and making it a reality has also been a very important partnership. In addition, Alberta Parks has been incredibly supportive and has offered a variety of resources to make this program a success. We are truly grateful for all of the community support.
Ik ka nutsi video:
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