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A week of connecting with the land

Submitted by jreid on

Beautiful weather. The first full week of autumn. Nature field trips. New land acknowledgement.

You couldn’t ask for a better week to learn and connect with the land and nature. In fact, this week has provided all of us (teachers included!) with opportunities to reflect, engage and explore the diverse opportunities provided both inside the classroom and outside of it.

Firstly, our Grade 5 and 6 students enjoyed a fantastic time at Camp Kawartha. Many worked through strong emotions of being away from home and family; in doing so, they were able to conquer their fears, trust their peers and teachers, and accomplish something they didn’t think they were capable of doing. While immersed in the wilderness programming, the students challenged themselves on high ropes courses, drank cedar tea and learned how to start a campfire with friction. Free time consisted of gaga ball and card games. So much fun connecting with friends and the great outdoors.

Our Grade 7s and 8s also headed north on a day trip to Petroglyphs Provincial Park. Honouring the sacred land, students were respectful and attentive when learning about the petroglyphs on the “teaching rocks.” A hike through the woods with a stop at Minnow Lake made for an exhilarating day outside, with plenty of fresh air and exercise.

Finally, today, TCS recognized National Day for Truth and Reconciliation with a full school gathering that focused on the unveiling of our School’s reworked land acknowledgment. As our students learned, land acknowledgments are a key part of the reconciliation process between Indigenous and Non-Indigenous peoples, and by acknowledging the land we are on, we are paying our respect to those who came before us.

The land has been central to all we have done this week. As educators, we know about the benefits of being outdoors. Nature beckons inspiration; it brings calm and focus; it supports cognitive, physical and emotional development; it deepens an appreciation for all things living and teaches us how to coexist in harmony. And through reconciliation, acknowledging the land is a way to honour the Indigenous people who lived and worked on the land since time immemorial.

We are lucky to have so much green space at TCS to bring our learning outdoors, as well as opportunities to travel on trips that focus on being in nature. Our hearts and minds are certainly better for it.