Connecting Classrooms to Communities in the Columbia Basin and beyond!

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Over 325 educators, including teachers, students and community members from across the province, gathered in Vancouver on October 25-26 to explore inspiring and community-connected strategies for teaching and learning in B.C. schools. “Place-based learning is as core foundation of the renewed K-12 curriculum in B.C.” said Patrick Robertson, Chair of the C2C Education Network, “Our provincial network aims to support teacher collaboration, leadership and professional development as we showcased at this conference, Connecting to People, Place and Planet.”

This conference followed up on the successful inaugural C2C Conference held in the Columbia Basin in 2018.

At the 2019 conference there were 20 educators from the Columbia Basin present, and CBEEN supported a number of these educators in attending through our bursary program. Here are a few of their reflections:

I think the most important thing expressed was the importance of learning about the traditional territory you teach on. It’s important to do a land acknowledgement and to teach your students whose traditional territory they are fortunate to learn on to build an awareness of the history/cultural significance of the land. By doing this, children will deepen their connection with the land along with fostering a culture of respect towards First Nations people. Collectively as educators we can play an influential role in sharing our historical truths. As Canadians it’s our duty to reconcile do a land acknowledgement. – Brooklyn Hanson

Fusing outcomes from multiple workshops I learned the significance of students participating in their own ethnography. This approach encourages students to examine their own story, students’ relationship to land and water, and their story as it relates to indigenous history of their place. These learning outcomes have encouraged me to provide tools for my students to learn about indigenous perspectives on the land and place names that have been overlapped or masked with colonial histories. Utilizing a Sḵwx̱wú7mesh (Squamish) mapping website tool “Oh The Places You Should Know” I am curious to know if a similar mapping tool could be generated by students in the Columbia Basin. – Matt Gale

The C2C conference in Vancouver was fantastic. On the Friday I was able to take away nature journaling ideas from Erica Momeyer. My afternoon session I was inspired by Megan Zeni, who spoke about playful inquiry, outdoor exploration, the importance of rough and tumble play, connecting place to our teaching, classroom gardening, and shared many great Childrens book connections. Saturday’s session was fantastic!! I attended the workshop at City Studio which is innovative program for youth. The program connects schools / Students and The City on projects that students can create action projects to create change in their city. Students work towards tackling global issues and recognize that small projects add up to big changes in a community. I see possibilities of opening a city studio in our community and offering this work to our youth- connecting our youth/university/schools to city goals and sustainability. I made so many connections to people I met and plan to do co-projects with another grade 1/2 classroom in Burnaby. The music at the conference was amazing and I hope to purchase and share with my students. Thank you for offering this bursary, I truly enjoyed this experience. – Kelly Henderson

One important learning concerned how the more often a student/person returns to a place in a variety of seasons, weather etc, the more connected they are to that place and will spend greater time learning more about the impacts to that place and the benefits of that place. Encourages me to investigate new methods of returning to place as it relates to variety of programming. – Todd Hebert

A fantastic experience to get together with like minded people working in the industry to share projects, ideas, thoughts, struggles and support network and tools. I am really looking forward to working with CBEEN in the future with some projects and ideas of my own. – Danny Page

C2C was a great opportunity for networking with both old and new contacts, particularly while presenting on Friday morning and randomly wandering around campus in the afternoon trying to find my afternoon session! Although the afternoon session never happened, I really enjoyed getting to see the Reconciliation Pole outside of the Forest Sciences Center – not sure how I might use this in my practice, but it has stuck with me. I loved the field trip to the Longhouse at the Cheakamus Centre and how all of our learning was woven together and flowed nicely, with both young presenters and Elders. I really like how North Vancouver School district has set grade levels for when students visit (and sleepover) at the Longhouse but I’m not sure how this might currently transfer over to my school district. Perhaps, after the Supreme court finally realizes that the Sinixt aren’t extinct! – Erika Momeyer

In the C2C conference that I attended I had a varied learning experience. During the first day we learned about the importance of reconciliation and our role as educators to make sure that this occurs. During the welcome we were made aware of what peoples’ territory we were on (territory of the Musqueam people) and some of the history of that place. This gave us the groundwork on which to place our learning. I then learned about environmental violence and environmental action, and the positive and negative role that both of these can play in our quickly changing world. During the last day of the conference I was treated to a tour of the Vancouver landfill in the municipality of Delta, as well as many of the locations throughout the city that play an active role in reducing the waste produced by the vast population. This made me realize that if the giant city of Vancouver can handle its waste, so can the people of the East Kootenays. – Russell Hanson

And here a few of the resources they recommend:

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