Walking down Laity View Elementary’s intermediate classes hallway is a learning experience this Truth and Reconciliation week.
The bulletin boards lining the walls on either side are full of art, text, and a common theme: Injustices Indigenous communities have faced.
“The initial idea came from an intermediate teachers’ meeting that we had,” said Sara Maher, a Grade 6/7 teacher at Laity View. “We were discussing ways to honour the week for truth and reconciliation. We wanted to find a way to collaborate as a team.”
The teachers decided to create bulletin boards for each of their classes as a way to showcase what the students were learning about. Each board was different and would teach the students something new.
Some teachers read their classes storybooks by Indigenous authors and then had their students create art or poetry based on what they learned.
After the boards were completed, the intermediate students, ranging from Grades 3 to 7, were able to walk through and look at the different displays.
“From there, we asked primary classes to come down and do what we’re calling a gallery walk,” Maher said. “And we’re just hoping that when they come down with their teachers, it’ll spur more discussion, more questions around truth and reconciliation.”
Grade 6/7 students Khushi and Della created flowers for their bulletin boards with each petal listing a right that was taken from children who attended residential school.
“I wrote, the right not to be bullied. The right to have fun and play, the right to live in a safe space, the right to live with your family, and the right to have good health care,” Khushi said.
Kelechi, whose Grade 5/6 class featured the medicine wheel on their display board, said it’s important to learn about the past.
“They did do something really wrong to torture those kids, tell them to cut their hair and not speak their own language,” she said.
Grade 5 student Brady also stressed the importance of knowing the history.
“Because if we didn’t know it, nothing would change,” he explained. “Because the more we know, the more change we can give.”