Aroland First Nation
Johnny Therriault School
In late September 2014, a small team from Natural Curiosity and the Dr. Eric Jackman Institute of Child Study Laboratory School accepted an invitation from teachers and administrators at Johnny Therriault School to visit their community 14 hours north of Toronto in the Aroland First Nation. Our team was privileged to join with local teachers in knowledge building, professional development, and learning about cultural practices like sharing circles from the acting Elder in the school.
One of the most memorable experiences of the week was the Fall Harvest. This was the first time, in a long time, that this particular community put on a Fall Harvest. It was coordinated entirely by the school, and community members and elders were asked to run the stations. We got to experience and engage in trapping, bannok making, medicine teaching, fish smoking, fish cleaning, moose prep/stew making, and fish frying. The closest elementary schools were invited, and all four attended! The students were engaged and interested; it was a transformative day for us and the community.
Teachers at both Johnny Therriault and the JICS Laboratory School are currently in conversation about how to use technology to connect their classrooms, continue to learn from one another, and work together in an inquiry that will enhance learning in both their local and diverse environments.
Natural Curiosity extends a special thank you to the teachers and community members of the Aroland First Nation and look forward to a continued partnership and our next visit.