Connecting to our Place

The more I read about Indigenous ways of learning and knowing, the more I realize the importance of having young learners feeling connected to the land they live on and being aware of themselves as individuals and their own stories. I continue to read, over and over, that young people need to first understand their connection to our land in hopes of embracing other cultures, specially local Indigenous culture. Beginning by exploring in our environment and about ourselves has been our soundtrack lately, and boy have we been ever loving it.

tree.jpgWe love exploring outdoors. We love running, jumping, hiding and of course throwing leaves. We love jumping from tree trunk to tree trunk in our nature playground. We love holding hands and running across the field. We love our place of learning.

We have been curious about the type of tree we have in our school yard. We think it is a London Plane tree. We love finding it’s fruit/seeds that are all over the grass right now.

We recently partnered up with a class in West Vancouver to do a nature exchange. We were inspired by the NaturePal Exchange. Both of our Kindergarten crews collected local nature and items to mail and exchange. We spent time sharing, identifying and labeling our items and they are being shipped off. We are excited to receive our package and learn about the nature and the place of learning our Kindergarten friends have in West Vancouver. What a neat way to learn, explore and connect to our place. We spent countless outdoor explorations combing the school yard for interesting finds. Our friends started bringing in items from weekend adventures and backyard finds. Here is part of package we are sending.


Learning about ourselves sparked when we visited the Royal BC Museum’s Family & Belongings a few weeks ago. We were entranced by artefacts that families used ‘back in the day’. family

This led us to beginning to inquire about ourselves and families. I was beyond fortunate to attend a workshop by the incredible Adrienne Gear based on how ‘We are all Connected’. Click here to link to resource package and amazing list of books. It was such a timely experience as our inquiry was just beginning. Adrienne blew my mind, gave me chills and made me tear up… ALL IN A WORKSHOP. All the books and resources she shared fit SO well with our current learning and where I was hoping to head towards for the remainder of first time.

Image result for thunder boy jrWe have been loving inquiring about ourselves, beginning with Adrienne’s suggestions of starting with the stories of our names. We loved Adrienne’s recommendation of reading Thunder Boy Jr. by Sherman Alexie. We’ve read it three times, the first time in English and the two other times in French (‘ad-libbed’ of course).

I loved Adrienne’s idea and suggestion of sending home Name Story interviews. How powerful for families to be part of our learning and inquiring process! We sent home paper interviews for the children to complete with their families, and I also offered and encouraged our families to record their interview with their child and post their child’s name story on Flip Grid. If you haven’t checked out Flip Grid it is almost like a virtual wonder wall, where learners can record short clips of themselves reflecting and sharing. It is an easy to use platform, that can be accessed via desktops, laptops and tablets. There is a user-friendly app that connects to your Flip Grid board using an access code and password (if you wish). We received more than half of our reflections via Flip Grid and some awesome paper interview versions as well.

The children LOVED watching their videos and listening to their paper versions of their interviews with their families. Lots of giggles, especially when we heard what each child would love to change their name to… strawberry shortcake probably received the most giggles.

Thanks for sharing in a few ways we are working on connecting to the local land we live, learn and play on each day and learning about some of the ways we have been inspired by Adrienne Gear to inquire about ourselves and the stories of our names.

How do you connect to your place or learning? 
How are your learners connecting with their own stories? 

Stay curious,


6 thoughts on “Connecting to our Place

  1. Adrienne Gear says:

    Wow! Just reading this post and feeling so honoured and thrilled that my workshop inspired you in so many ways! Thank you for sharing this post and for all the amazing things are doing in your classroom! Wow! You made my day! May I share this on my FB page?


  2. Anna says:

    I love the idea about learning their name story. I’m looking forward to doing this with my class in the next couple of weeks. Any chance you can tell me the questions that you asked the parents or send me a copy of the interview you sent home? Thanks so much.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s