Castlefrank Students Explore the Outdoors with Indigenous Art Stroll

Castlefrank Students Explore the Outdoors with Indigenous Art Stroll
Posted on 05/10/2023
Castlefrank Students Explore the Outdoors with Indigenous Art Stroll

The Castlefrank Elementary School yard transformed into a gallery showcasing Indigenous art, where students from Kindergarten to grade 3 enjoyed an outdoor Art Stroll. 

As they admired paintings by Ojibway artists including Jim Oskineegish and Patrick Hunter, the students shared their reflections and observations: “Look, I see the deep roots. I imagine I hear the birds too.” “Look at the ripples [in the water]. I wonder if there are frogs there, or are they hiding?” “I love this art. The background is so beautiful as it fades from orange to pink to purple to blue.”

Photo 1

This activity marked the launch of the school’s Outdoor Nature Learning Kits, which invite students to explore the world around them through the lens of Indigenous perspectives. Each kit is tied to a season and contains works by Indigenous authors and artists, along with hands-on learning activities linked to different curriculum areas. 

As part of their learning, students read stories by Métis author Leah Marie Dorion. They had discussions about the animals represented in the artwork – How does this animal move? What does this animal eat? They also completed outdoor scavenger hunts, observing plants and other signs of spring in their community.
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Sixteen kits were created by Kindergarten teachers Christine Stephens and Dawna Ferguson with support from Kareena Butler, OCDSB Indigenous Education Itinerant Teacher. Support for this project was also provided by the District’s Innovation and Adolescent Learning department.

This has been a tremendous learning journey. I have gained a much deeper understanding of the land that we learn on and how we can honour Indigenous culture and learning in our programs. - Christine Stephens, Teacher

Students are looking forward to continuing their learning journey this summer. In the next learning kits, they'll be reading books by Indigenous authors, then heading outdoors to "adopt a tree" in their community.
Grade 1 learning kits #4 - summer
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