Jun 16
Land as Teacher

Dear Sibylla Kiddle School Families,

A couple of years ago I joined a group of grade 4 students on a field trip to the OH Ranch, southwest of Calgary, much like our grade 4 students did a few weeks ago. While there, our guide led us on a walk along a majestic ridge looking onto the Rocky Mountains. As we started she said, ‘Be careful where you step, you don’t want to damage any of the plants, especially the ones with flowers.’ As I meandered down the path, I become acutely aware of how difficult it was not to step on a plant. My brain started working as well and I reflected on why do we need to pay extra attention to the plants with flowers? Don’t all plants play a critical role in the ecosystem?

Last week, I wrote about the benefits of learning outside. I want to dive deeper this week and acknowledge that the land is also a great teacher. On the day noted above, the land taught me a lesson about belonging. All plants are important and serve to benefit the balancing of a complex ecosystem. What has the land taught you? As a parent, how can you view the land as a resource to teach your child? What can be learned about the value and beauty of change by watching a caterpillar morph into a butterfly? My front lawn could probably teach you a lesson about how critical water is for all living things, including our own bodies. Flowers are at the mercy of bees for pollination, teaching us about the value of dependence, collaboration and helping each other.

On June 21, we recognize National Indigenous Peoples Day as a nation and as a school. On this date, our school joins with all other CBE schools in renewing our annual commitment to Truth and Reconciliation. Indigenous Peoples have long recognized the land as one of their primary teachers. It is in this spirit, our commitment for the 2023-24 school year is to value the land as a teacher. We want to honour that we can learn from, with, about and on the land. We look forward to what the land will teach us as a school community in the year ahead and we hope you will join us in this commitment by taking time to understand what the land may be teaching you.

Brad Emery


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