Sullivan Elementary SD#36 Surrey

School Name: Sullivan Elementary

School District: SD#36 Surrey

Inquiry Team Members: Amy Wilder:
Niki Leech:
Lora Sarchet:
Sandra Succamore:
Paula Taylor:

Inquiry Team Contact Email:

Type of Inquiry: NOIIE

Grade Levels: Primary (K-3)

Curricular Area(s): Language Arts – Literacy, Language Arts – Oral Language, Mathematics / Numeracy, Science, Social Studies

Focus Addressed: Core competencies (for example, critical thinking, communication, problem solving), First Peoples Principles of Learning, Land, Nature or Place-based learning

In one sentence, what was your focus for the year? Developing our emotional connection to place.

Scanning: We are looking to embed ways of being, knowing and doing, into our classroom practice in authentic and meaningful ways.

Focus: By using imaginative ecological education (cognitive tools) as a base, and connecting with FPPL, we are able to engage with the land, explore place and find significance in our own narratives.

Cognitive Tools: Creation of special places, formation of emotional attachments

First Peoples Principles: Learning is embedded in memory, history and story

Learning is holistic, reflexive, reflective, experiential and relational (focused on connectedness, on reciprocal relationships and on sense of place)

Hunch: Our school and surrounding neighbourhood is currently being rebuilt and redefined. We expect our community is feeling disconnected with place, and our identity as a school community. Land surrounding our school has been cleared for building, and our community is concerned about the loss of trees and a ‘feel’ for the place. Children have expressed concern for the loss of animal habitat.

New Professional Learning: We are currently building a school garden as a space to enrich our experiential, ecological teaching practices, by using the cognitive place – making tools to nurture attachment and belonging to our physical environment. We will deepen our understanding of the local flora and fauna by developing relationships that connect to the people and history of our specific community. We are looking for Indigenous stories connected to our community, as well as settler stories of which our school is named after.

Taking Action: Roy Vickers’s “Four Directions” helped to frame our focus areas for the physical environments we explored and experienced. We used our school garden, cedar grove, mini forest and water, to connect our learners to place. Our projects grew from the children’s ideas and learning in these places. We wove in the ideas gifted by Roy Vickers’ stories.

Checking: Our learners deepened their understanding of local flora and fauna, and feel deeply attached. They are now curious and careful when investigating these places. They have respect for the living world and understand the interconnectedness of the natural world.

Reflections/Advice: We learned that experiential and relational learning strengthened ties to our community. Our learners were able to transfer their new knowledge to other environments connected to their families. Next year, we want to use the core competencies to continue to connect our learners to place and to each other. Our advice is to go slow, to narrow your focus, and to provide time to engage with your memory, history and stories.

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