• Elementary School
  • High School
  • Middle School
Connecting Indigenous Knowledge and an IB Education

Collectively, the entire school embraced the First Peoples Principles of Learning that was created with guidance from Indigenous Elders, scholars, and Knowledge Keepers. The principles represent conceptual ideas, and they are merged into our work as IB learners. 

Meadowridge School is guided by our Indigenous Education Committee who grows our understanding, helps us have deep and rich conversations, and brings our community together for shared experiences while supporting the process of inquiring to learn more.

As the reader, we invite you to align our learning with the First Peoples Principles of Learning. When we learn together and honour the stories of our past, we can act for improvements in the future. 

Primary Years Programme
Ms. Tamara Warner, Associate Elementary Principal & PYP IB Coordinator

This summer, the Primary Years Program staff came all together to review the work we have done to weave in authentic, respectful learning. The learning we embarked on together, coupled with the guidance of the Ministry of Education curriculum documents has been alive in the JK through Grade 5 classrooms.   

The Elementary staff embarked on a reflective process with intention of collaborating about the Indigenous learning connections we make in our Programme of Inquiry. Using the British Columbia curriculum, staff documented the direct ties that were made in the units of inquiry. Indigenous Education appears authentically throughout. 

Junior Kindergarten
How our actions with the land and with living things affect the environment  

Exploring the role of intergenerational families, and the roles and responsibilities of aunties, uncles, grandparents and Elders

Grade 1 
Listening and reflecting on indigenous stories that remind us of the importance of the objects in the sky

Grade 2 
Ways Indigenous Peoples use stories and teachings of life cycles. 

Grade 3 
Contributions of Indigenous innovations, roles as Knowledge Keepers and leaders of protocols and ceremonies

Grade 4 
Understanding the concept of honourable harvesting and appreciation of the natural world through our own North Forest

Grade 5 
Learning about our country, embedded with the historical policies, understanding the formation of treaties, and implications of residential schools

Middle Years Programme
Mr. Kevin Kennedy, Associate Principal & IB MYP Coordinator

In the last few years, we’ve worked on connecting Indigenous Education with the IB curriculum, in large part due to the efforts of Mrs. Smoke and Mr. Diniz, who are the Chairs of our Indigenous Education Committee. Indigenous Education is integrated into the curriculum in a myriad of ways. There are entire units that are built around Indigenous Education as well as parts of units or individual tasks and student assignments. There are connections made between First Peoples Principles of Learning and the IB Learner Profile and Approaches to Learning skills. Our focus on experiential learning also creates many opportunities to embed the First Peoples Principles of Learning into our educational experiences.   

Place-based learning - facilitating inquiry-focused learning through reflective and experiential activities

Indigenous perspectives on the significance of the sun, moon, and stars – looking at the stories of the Kodak Islands and Tlingit

CWOW activity Whisper in the Trees – “Learning ultimately supports the well-being of the self, the family, the community, the land, the spirits, and the ancestors” - with learning outcomes of data organization using a tally table, bar graph, and circle graph

Comparing and contrasting the Big Bang Theory with Indigenous creation stories
Exploring interconnectedness and sustainability in nature by integrating Indigenous perspectives
Delving into medicinal chemistry through Indigenous knowledge – studying possible drug-starting molecules which are improved through modern methods to improve safety, efficacy, and sustainability as a treatment

Individuals & Societies
Exploring creation stories from a variety of cultures including First Nations in British Columbia
Exploring geography - “Time, Place and Space” - with an inquiry into how we view land as possession and how First Peoples Principles look at land as the provider. We consider how the term “land” has different layers of meaning – both literally and figuratively

Critiquing the reasons provided for the exclusion of First Nations from the process of Confederation and the implications of this action 

Language & Literature 
Indigenous literature unit that presents an Indigenous perspective on European colonization of North America

Language AcQuisition 
History of the Indigenous Peoples of Latin America – the Spanish language, cultural components, and global issues 

Making full-sized paddles that students decorate using First Nations symbols (animals) that they feel represent their character

Visual Art 
Exploring Indigenous stories in and through Indigenous art

High School/Diploma Programme 
Mr. Jamie Marriott, Associate Principal & IB DP Coordinator 

Indigenous Education is incorporated in many areas across the IB DP curriculum, including the different sciences, studies in language and literature, language acquisition (French and Spanish), individuals and societies (History and Geography), Visual Arts, and Math. With the learning outcomes and activities becoming more organic within the classrooms, the students are demonstrating increased knowledge and sensitivity to these issues. However, this is a work in progress, and we have a long way to go on this road to reconciliation. We have made it a priority in our school to thoughtfully increase the presence of Indigenous Education across all our IB programs, including the DP Programme. Here are some of the ways our efforts can be demonstrated in the classroom in high school by the teachers: 

Language & Literature
Investigating the European colonization of North America from an Indigenous perspective
Theory of Knowledge (TOK)

Incorporating the new Indigenous Education course within the framework of TOK. This incorporation has allowed far more valuable discussions, and the students are becoming more familiar with the Indigenous worldviews.

Understanding Indigenous peoples through a Latin American perspective and making connections with the Indigenous Peoples and their stories in Canada

Discussing the history of European (Spanish) colonization and its impact on Indigenous communities
A translation of the Land Acknowledgement is being completed

Visual Arts
Students study Indigenous art and compare the styles

Exploring the interconnectedness and sustainability of our environment and relating it to Indigenous Education and ecology

Learning about aspects of medicinal chemistry using Indigenous Knowledge. Looking at how possible drug-starting molecules can be improved through modern methods to improve safety, efficacy, and sustainability as a treatment

Studying why the First Nations were excluded from the process of Confederation and the implications of this action

Course Focus: Contemporary Indigenous Studies for High School

With little time in their schedules, High School students embraced the addition of a new course to their already-jam-packed agendas. 

Our students are known for taking on an academically demanding course load along with several different co-curricular and extra-curricular activities. When news broke out that a new Indigenous-focused course would be rolling out this year, High School Students were up for the challenge of taking on the extra workload of Contemporary Indigenous Studies (CIS). For High School Principal, Ms. Kristal Bereza, balancing the demands of a DP schedule with an approach that honours the intent of the CIS course was important.

“Regardless of the structure and rigor of the DP Programme, this is the real history of our nation that we all need to be informed of. There’s always room to fit an important initiative.”

CIS focuses on varied identities and world views of Indigenous Peoples, community development, partnerships, control of economic opportunities, and restoring balance through truth, healing, and reconciliation in Canada and around the world. 

“There are no tests or a final exam. There are no high-stake assignments or pressure-filled assessments. It’s designed to be an engaging class; we want students to be encouraged to learn, collaborate, and be present in deep conversations with their peers and teachers. This approach to education fits with the First Peoples Principles of Learning” says Ms. Bereza. 

Course feedback from students has been very positive according to Ms. Bereza. 

“The discussions that take place are so rich. CIS is opening their minds, sparking their curiosity, giving them a chance to think critically and reflect on what they’re learning about, and the students are enjoying it.” 

This year, The Ministry of Education and the First Nations Education Steering Committee implemented a new graduation requirement where students need to complete Indigenous-focused coursework to graduate. Since Indigenous history, perspectives, and knowledge were already being woven into many areas of our student’s existing courses, CIS gave them dedicated time to strengthen the Indigenous learning introduced in other classes. 

Many other institutions are tying the coursework into existing lessons to meet the requirement. At Meadowridge, Contemporary Indigenous Studies is being honoured in its entirety as a new course, ensuring our graduates are equipped with the knowledge, skills, and competencies to be active, informed citizens who are able to think critically and understand the impacts of colonialism on Indigenous communities today and how to work together to foster healing and address injustices.