Quarterway Elementary SD#68 Nanaimo-Ladysmith

I. General Information

School Name: Quarterway Elementary

School District: SD#68 Nanaimo-Ladysmith

Inquiry Team Members: Sigal Smith – ssmith02@sd68.bc.ca, Dominique Sullivan – dominique.sullivan@sd68.bc.ca

Inquiry Team Contact Name/Email: Sigal Smith/ssmith02@sd68.bc.ca

II. Inquiry Project Information

Type of Inquiry: NOIIE

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

Curricular Areas Addressed:

  • Arts Education
  • Language Arts – Oral Language
  • Physical & Health Education
  • Science
  • Social Studies

Focus Addressed:

  • Indigenous understandings (for example, Traditional Knowledge, oral history, reconciliation)
  • Community-based learning
  • Experiential learning
  • First Peoples Principles of Learning
  • Land, Nature or Place-based learning
  • Self-regulation
  • Social and emotional learning

In one sentence, what was your focus for the year? Bringing Snuneymuxw technologies to life for K-7 learners.

III. Spirals of Inquiry Details


  • Most learning is not kinesthetic for learners
  • Lack of understanding of technologies used and developed by Aboriginal people, locally
  • Lack of understanding leading to perpetuation of cultural racism
  • More connection to the land was needed, as students behaviour is greatly affected by lack of outdoor time/exploration.


  • More connection to the land was needed, as students behaviour is greatly affected by lack of outdoor time/exploration.
  • We were hoping to discover some traditional technologies that were used in our area, as well as introduce students to outdoor learning experiences.
  • We hoped to see a decrease in cultural racism among our school families, as well as an increase in cultural understanding/connection to the land.


  • Lack of understanding amongst staff lead to a lack of understanding for students
  • Some teachers were already doing outdoor learning experiences; however, we wanted all students to have the opportunity to experience our local areas and develop a connection to the land.
  • Student behaviours were escalating as a result of too much screen time/not enough outdoor experiences.

New Professional Learning:

  • Professional uprooting of assumptions
  • Learning about our local area and the people/culture of our local area
  • Integration/embedding of First Nation Ways of learning and of living
  • Development of ADSD curriculum (making and following a plan) with hands-on learning for students
  • We participated in the district Truth and Reconciliation day and continued our learning with a staff visit to the Beaufort Food Forest.
  • All students were taken on a field trip to Wildwood EcoForest and were accompanied by Beau, who lead us with Coast Salish storytelling.

Taking Action:

  • All students went to Wildwood, so it was a school-wide understanding.
  • We booked all the Wildwood trips, so it was less for teachers to plan on their own.
  • We were very transparent with our plan and how our plan evolved over the course of the year.
  • We asked for lots of feedback.

Checking: Our learners loved learning outdoors. The emotional regulation and calm that they experienced while being in nature was refreshing and amazing to see. Our next steps are to build a “grab and go” forest walk field trip kit (with a wagon with forest guides, etc), work towards having a community school garden, continue to learn about our eco-forests and do a school wide art project with the cedar that was harvested at Wildwood around the time of our field trips.

Reflections/Advice: Our project evolved over the year and we now have plans for a “grab and go” forest walk kit and a school/neighbourhood garden/orchard. We will also continue working with Beau to develop an art project to use the cedar that was harvested. We also learned that our button blanket displays that are on our walls are not culturally appropriate, and we will be taking them down and returning them to an elder who will gift them to another nation and will continue our learning.

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