Ecole Quarterway SD#68 Nanaimo-Ladysmith

I. General Information

School Name: Ecole Quarterway

School District: SD#68 Nanaimo-Ladysmith

Inquiry Team Members: Sigal Smith:
Dominique Sullivan:

Inquiry Team Contact Email:

II. Inquiry Project Information

Type of Inquiry: NOIIE Case Study

Grade Levels Addressed Through Inquiry: Primary (K-3), Intermediate (4-7)

Curricular Areas Addressed: Arts Education, Career Education, Language Arts – Literacy, Language Arts – Oral Language, Language Arts – Reading, Language Arts – Writing, Mathematics / Numeracy, Physical & Health Education, Social Studies

Focus Addressed: Indigenous understandings (for example, Traditional Knowledge, oral history, reconciliation), Core competencies (for example, critical thinking, communication, problem solving), Experiential learning, Land, Nature or Place-based learning, Self-regulation, Social and emotional learning

In one sentence, what was your focus for the year? Reconnecting with the land – using our newly adopted park across from the school for outdoor learning opportunities.

III. Spirals of Inquiry Details

Scanning: We saw that students were disconnecting from each other, from the land and were dysregulated. We were inspired by the following First Peoples’ Principles of Learning: That learning ultimately supports the well-being of the self, the family, the community, the land, the spirits, and the ancestors and that learning is holistic, reflexive, reflective, experiential, and relational (focused on connectedness, on reciprocal relationships, and a sense of place).

Focus: We were hoping to see more self-regulation with our students and more pride/responsibility taken to look after our lands.

Hunch: Covid led to much more technological learning and students were disconnected from each other and not able to function socially. They were disconnected from the land and nature, as well. We saw that classes that took time to do alternate/outdoor learning were more frequently calmer.

New Professional Learning: As a staff, we had a guest speaker from Invasive Species BC, and each classroom had a followup Zoom chat with a leader from Invasive Wise Education. We organized with the city parks department and bylaw to have Koram Park (our adopted park across from our school) swept for needles/unhoused encampments and spent 2 half-day Pro-D with our staff in the park learning the land and being able to ask questions and discover. We organized an opening ceremony for the park with a land blessing done by an Elder in our community.

Taking Action: Transparency was our biggest strategy – we were very clear that we were all learning together.
Team approach – we involved stakeholders from the staff, admin, students, EAs, parent (we had a parent organize a huge park cleanup), city (bylaw and park/recreation), our Indigenous community, and program leaders from Invasive BC.

Checking: Students definitely feel more connected to the land and are taking more responsibility with learning about invasive species (pulling them out and replacing them with native species). Kids are excited to get to Koram Park on their scheduled walk days. We have done a lot this year but not enough, of course. We will continue to work with our parents, our Indigenous leaders and our community to continue to clean up Koram Park, and have more learning opportunities that are easy for our staff and enriching for our learners.

Reflections/Advice: It’s intimidating at first, but reach out! There are so many people who are willing to help!