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Teachers & Staff as Students: The learning never ends at Meadowridge

Every year, dozens of teachers and staff at the School become students and enroll in professional development opportunities to enhance their knowledge and skills in Indigenous Education. The learning outcomes range from gaining a better understanding of the perspectives, experiences, Indigenous Ways of Knowing, the history of colonization and residential schools, and working toward reconciliation. 

All this learning and insight allow us to develop a respectful relationship with Indigenous communities and is tied into the school’s curriculum, Mission, and Vision.

KAIROS Blanket Exercise
Through an experiential, interactive blanket exercise, teachers and school staff explore and reflect on the history of Turtle Island, the impact of colonization, and the lasting effects on Indigenous Peoples and communities today. 

Blankets lay across the floor representing Turtle Island. As history is recounted, narrated by Elder Kelly and facilitator Shona Sparrow, who represent the European settlers in the exercise, blankets are folded and become smaller and smaller, representing the land that was stripped away from Indigenous Peoples. 

As 500 years of Canada’s dark history is detailed, participants are put in the role of Indigenous Peoples and asked to step off the blanket and to join their ancestors, symbolizing the Indigenous lives lost to residential schools, genocide, and diseases brought by settlers. 

The powerful and moving exercise concludes with a traditional sharing circle, where teachers and staff share what they learned and how they will be connecting this knowledge to their lives, in their classrooms, and by continuing to learn Indigenous history to become allies of the Indigenous communities.

ISABC Truth and Reconciliation Workshop 
Meadowridge’s very own Mrs. Charlene Smoke led a Truth and Reconciliation workshop in September in collaboration with the Independent Schools Association of BC (ISABC). Teachers, staff, and educators from independent schools across the province tuned in to learn about Truth and Reconciliation and how to integrate it into the classroom and in their personal lives. 

Mrs. Marie Clement ‘00, Grade 2 & 3 Art Teacher & Alum

I completed a course called Indigenous Approaches to Education at SFU taught by Vicky Kelly. We worked through the importance of storytelling and ceremony, we practiced songs and arts-based exercises that honoured the land and all people, and we were given “permission to trip” (to fail and learn) while trying out new Indigenous teachings in our classrooms.


Mr. Brian Spear, Director of Campus Improvement
It was an eye-opening experience educating myself on Indigenous history in Canada, the residential school system, and the treatment of Indigenous Peoples in the past. I took The University of Alberta’s Indigenous Canada course as well as several others offered by the Indigenous Relations Academy which included: Working Effectively with Indigenous Peoples, Indigenous Consultation & Engagement, and How to Negotiate with Indigenous Peoples as a part of my own efforts toward reconciliation. 


Ms. Jennifer Higginson, History Teacher, TOK, EE, CAS Coordinator
I found out I was going to be teaching the new Contemporary Indigenous Studies course this year. I was excited, but knew I needed to expand my education, so I took a wonderful course through the First Nations Educational Steering Committee and this gave me so much more confidence; we all have a responsibility to incorporate the First People’s Principles of Learning into our classes, and I have so many more authentic ways to do this now. 

This past summer, I joined three other teachers from our school to attend a Decolonization Walk at UBC. This was an educational opportunity that framed decolonization through the lens of the artworks displayed at UBC, whose campus is on the traditional and unceded territory of the Musqueam Peoples, though some of the artwork came from other nations, including the Haida. Currently, I’m taking a second online course through the University of Toronto called Aboriginal Worldviews and Education. It is a perfect introduction for people just starting to explore how we can incorporate Indigenous Education into our teaching (and great for interested parents).

Ms. Courtney Higginson, Kindergarten Teacher 
Through UBC, I took Reconciliation through Indigenous Education which focused on teaching Indigenous Education in a school setting. I was able to learn new ways to include the Ways of Knowing and it confirmed some of the practices we were already doing in Kindergarten and overall made me feel more confident in my ability to teach it. Even though I teach such young children in Kindergarten, I want my students to be aware of real-life issues, and to have a deeper understanding of Indigenous Education and history than just “we wear orange in September and June”. Over the last few years, one of my professional goals has been to incorporate Indigenous Ways of Knowing, First Peoples Principles, and Indigenous culture authentically into the Kindergarten program.