The Spirit of Alliances: The Core of our Interactions and Intentions in Kindergarten

Our learning about the Spirit of Alliances class has become the core of our interactions, relationships, and class agreement in our Kindergarten class community. As a school and a district, we are hoping to incorporate the teachings of the Spirit of Alliances into our learning and daily actions. In our classroom, we have been focusing on encompassing the Spirit of Alliances into all that we do.

I would like to recognize and acknowledge the Esquimalt and Songhees Nations, on whose traditional territories we live, we learn, and we do our work.

The Spirit of Alliances is our Aboriginal Education Enhancement Agreement in the Victoria School District. The information I am sharing is all based on and from our Aboriginal Education Enhancement Agreement, to read the document in full please click here.

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*Screenshot taken from the Spirit of Alliances Aboriginal Education Enhancement Agreement for the Victoria School District. 

Our actions, intentions and learning will be continuously woven with the Spirit of Alliances in hopes of increasing awareness of Aboriginal history for all learners in our classroom community. This has started with teachings about the four Spirit of Alliances animals. quadrant-approach
*Screenshot taken from the Spirit of Alliances Aboriginal Education Enhancement Agreement for the Victoria School District.

The Bear, the Wolf, the Raven and the Salmon have become integral members and teachers of our classroom community. They are the foundation of our class agreement and will continue to guide us in our learning this year.

Through a book, that was created by Laurie Bayly who is a School Counsellor at Craigflower Elementary, we introduced the Spirit of Alliances. Laurie put on a fabulous workshop for educators last school year, which I will be forever grateful for. Laurie generously offered to create a book for schools with photographs of our school to make it unique and special to us. A colleague of mine, Bianca McEwen took and shared photographs of George Jay with Laurie and our book was created. Thank you to both of you. This book is a story about a little mouse that visits a special place each day (our school). Mouse is curious of what this place is all about. He finds four stones, which represent the four animals of the Spirit of Alliances. He then begins to learn that the traits of each of the animals give meaning to this place, which is our school. We read through the book once. The children loved seeing pictures from our school and were quite intrigued by the mouse and the four animals. For the following week, we read this book every day. Each day we focused on learning about the traits and teachings of a different animal.

We read the story and stopped at the animal of focus for that day. After reading, we a brainstorm of all the ways we can be like the animal. For example, the first animal we focused on was the Bear. We did a Brainstorm of traits and actions that the Bear teaches us. We focused on that the Bear’s gift to us is teaching us about self-awareness. For us in Kindergarten our brainstormed was summed up with the Bear teaches us that:
-We keep our bodies calm
-We keep our hands to ourselves
-We listen to our hearts
-We are safe
-We belongbear

After our brainstorm we did a journal entry. We drew ourselves learning something, one main trait we are learning from Bear. Lots of us drew listening to our hearts and acting from a loving place. Some of us drew ourselves being aware of our bodies, keeping our hands to ourselves and remaining calm when we are feeling upset or frustrated. For the following three days, we did the same activity for each animal. We then built our class agreement based on the traits and teachings of each of the Spirit of Alliances animals. We are in the process of having all our friends print their name on our agreement poster, to signify that our intentions and actions are common and grounded in the Spirit of Alliances.

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Here is some of the art we have been doing about the Bear. We learned about the traditional First Nations colours of the Bear, and then were invited to do a representation of ourselves in colours that we feel when we are being like Bear.

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I am grateful to be able to share and base our learning and actions of our Spirit of Alliances Aboriginal Education Enhancement Agreement. I am thankful for the time, love and history that was put into our Agreement by many hearts and hands. It was a collaborative process that involved many individuals, thank you. My hopes are to weave the teachings and Aboriginal history and education into our learning this year in Kindergarten.

We are beginning to set goals and intentions throughout our days based on the four animals. We are beginning to have reflective oral discussions that share how we are working towards being like the Bear, or like the Salmon. Stay tuned to hear more about our learning intentions and goal setting processes as they develop and expand.

Thank you, 
Rebecca

 

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