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Land-based Learning Professional Development Impacts Relationships and Learning

Saskatchewan Rivers Public School Division believes all students should experience indigenous cultures and traditions within the context of public education. All students benefit from an enhanced understanding of First Nations, Inuit and Métis ways of knowing and being.

At SRPSD we strive to be responsive to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s Calls to Action including, but not exclusive to:

62 (i) Make age-appropriate curriculum on residential schools, Treaties, and Aboriginal peoples’ historical and contemporary contributions to Canada a mandatory education requirement for Kindergarten to Grade Twelve students

63 (i) Developing and implementing kindergarten to grade twelve curriculum and learning resources on Aboriginal peoples in Canadian history, and the history and legacy of residential schools.

63 (ii) Sharing information and best practices on teaching curriculum related to residential schools and Aboriginal history.

63 (iii) Building student capacity for intercultural understanding, empathy, and mutual respect.

63 (iv) Identifying teacher-training needs relating to the above.

Recently, 30 teachers and interns from across the division made the most of the beautiful weather during a land-based professional development opportunity facilitated by SRPSD’s Indigenous Perspectives Team. Indigenous Perspectives Coach, Tyson Fetch shared traditional smudging and protocol teachings, which then gave the participants confidence in harvesting sacred medicines, sage and sweetgrass, on their own using protocol. It was an opportunity for all to reconnect with the land, share stories, and learn more about Indigenous teachings to share with their students.  From a kindergarten teacher learning that a few of her students smudge regularly after they could identify the sage and sweetgrass, to a high school teacher planning compare and contrast writing assignments based on the teachings she gleaned, this professional development opportunity has begun to impact student learning and build a sense of community in classrooms throughout the division.