Truth and Reconciliation Week draws
to a close today. Our students have engaged in thoughtful learning experiences
with their teachers this week, in ways that are developmentally appropriate. I
was particularly moved by the work in our Kindergarten classrooms. After
listening to pictue books (an example is “Phyllis’ Orange Shirt) read aloud by teachers, students were invited
to think about what schools should feel like. Children identified words such as
loved, happy and safe.
This underscores what drives us in our work and that the erroneous actions of the past must be acknowledged and remembered, so that they are not repeated today, or in the future. Yesterday schools across the city were closed so that families and children could take time to reflect on the meaning of reconciliation and actions that we can all take. The intent is to move towards better outcomes for our indigenous students and families through recognition and education. Many of our teachers participated in public ceremonies or took individual action such as listening to/viewing broadcasts and taking up professional reading to further their own development.
I carved out a little bit of time to go for a walk in Brown Lowery Provincial Park. Families were out with their children and many of these children were wearing orange shirts. My sons and I had a conversation about what they discussed in their classes at school. My eldest asked if this was even going to make a difference. I told him that the simple fact that he and other students can engage in conversations about residential schools and know that they existed is evidence of change. I reminded him that as a young student here in Alberta, it was not something that I understood or was directly taught. Change and improvement take time, and it is encouraging to see that greater awareness is being achieved in our society.
Sra. Andrea Riquelme
Principal, Escuela Eugene Coste