When you have an environment that provides opportunities to learn about diversity, all children have a strong sense of belonging. What a rich learning experience for children when you can use their peer’s knowledge to enrich their learning environment.
Ms. Kaboni visits our classroom every morning and with her she brings her grandmother (Nokomis) drum and drums and sings with the children. P.T. and M.B happily drum with Ms. Kaboni, the children take turns daily so that they all get a chance to drum.
Mrs.Shawana encourages the children to speak to Ms. Kaboni in the Ojibwe language. The children are learning to greet Ms. Kaboni by saying Aanii (hello) and that when Ms. Kaboni leaves our classroom we say Miigwech (thank you) and Baamaapii Miinwa (see you again later). M.A. is very interested in learning the Ojibwe language and will often ask Mrs. Shawana how to say certain words in Ojibwe, M.A. has recently learned to count to 3 in Ojibwe. (Bezhig, Niish, Nswi)
The children enjoy the time that is spent drumming. We have learned to sing “The Welcome” song and the “Mgizi” song. The children take turns drumming and we all sing together.
Two aboriginal students in our classroom have shared some of their indigenous knowledge with their peers.
P.T. was in the Art Studio one day when she decided to teach her friends about the four special colours. She told her friends that the white represents winter and that the black represents dark-night. She went on to say that the yellow represents the sun and daytime and that the red is the sunset.
T.G.W then said that she understood what P.T. was talking about, that it was all about opposites, that it’s daytime and night time and that’s opposite.
As P.T. continued to work in the art studio, she decided one day that she should talk to her friends about dream catchers.
The introduction of the dream catcher quickly brought about discussions of bad dreams. The other children were very interested in what P.T. had to say. T.G.W. said that she too had a dream catcher at home.
There was a small group of children that worked very diligently in the art studio making dream catchers of their own to take home to put above their beds so that they could ward off any bad dreams or nightmares. Their creations began with drawings of the dream catcher.
M.R. was very interested in the design of the dream catcher and worked on her creation of the dream catcher first by drawing her dreamcatcher and adding feathers from the art studio. She re-visited her creation the very next day along with P.T. where there was further investigation into the types of materials that were available in the art studio for this project.
Mrs. Shawana provided the children with a dream catcher from home that the children could look at to study the design of the dream catcher. C.K.S. was in the art studio and was very interested in assisting P.T. and M.R. with the materials. C.K.S. found a foil muffin tin that he cut the centre out of and gave the outer trim to the girls for their base. The girls were quite happy with this material and began to create their dream catchers. C.K.S. continued to provide guidance for children who wanted to make dream catchers, he would cut out the muffin tin for them. M.R. took the lead with the group and guided other children when they were making their dreamcatchers.