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October 28, 2017 1:17 am

School District 57 Celebrates a First for Aboriginal Education

Thursday, December 3, 2015 @ 1:56 PM

Today’s grand-opening included a performance by the Eagle Centre Drum Group – photos 250News

Prince George, B.C. – Dozens of people, including students, educators, and dignitaries celebrated a first today.

There were all on hand for the grand opening of the first All Nations Outdoor Teaching and Learning Centre in School District 57 at Prince George Secondary School (PGSS).

Shelly Niemi, department manager for the district’s Aboriginal Education Department, said the structure has been in the works for the past two years.

“It’s the very first structure that we’ve built as a school district to actually have a place for aboriginal education,” she said. “And this came from a recommendation we had from many different community consultation meetings.”


Niemi said a recurring theme that came out of those meetings was the need to create space for place based learning and experiential learning for aboriginal students.

She added the space will be used by all teachers as a classroom and as an opportunity to further weave aboriginal education into their core curriculum.

Niemi said today’s opening was very fitting in light of this year’s Truth and Reconciliation Report.

“This is an authentic truthful act of that and it fits with a new way that the BC curriculum is coming out. To embed more ways of aboriginal knowledge into the core curriculum.”

She said it will be given an official name later on this school year after students and staff have gotten a feel for the structure.

“And so throughout this school year the structure will form that identity representing all nations and then the PGSS staff, students, and elders will give it a name in a traditional way.”

School Board chair Tony Cable was one of the dignitaries on hand and said it was exciting to see the structure finally in place.

“It’s been a bit of a process to get here but I think it’ll be a real addition to the grounds here,” he said.

“The Aboriginal Department will definitely use it and the aboriginal students (est. 330) but it’s also for the whole student body and we hope to see lots of things happening out here from PE activities to stories to all sorts of activities.”

Lheidli T’enneh elder Edie Frederick, who also has a teaching certificate in First Nations language, agreed the structure should help aboriginal students.

“This building is a good start. The experiential learning, it’s a different technique of learning and First Nations seem to learn better in that method rather than the classroom.”


Nice structure, who built it.

So that’s what it is. I saw them building it this summer and thought it was going to be a shelter for smokers.

Another rip off of the taxpayer by the pseudo intellectuals at SD 57. Outdoor story telling for high school kids? They should be inside learning what every kid needs: Mathematics, sciences and reading/writing skills. There is no scientific evidence that learns better in a patio versus the classroom.

I see a group of students, no longer confined to the 4 walls of our traditional classroom, no longer “forced” to focus on the material being presented by the teacher.

Instead, I see a group of students, far more distracted from the subject matter being presented. I see a group of students far more interested in watching people walk by or watching the never ending stream of traffic pass by on Central Street!

I see frustrated teachers, doing their best to compete with all of the outside distractions that are taking away their students attention!

I see a waste of money! Perhaps they could install a barbeque and sell hotdogs at lunchtime. Dig a big hole and fill it with water! Pretend that you are a picnic shelter by the lake!

Not so sure that this new project will be of any value, but I do wish them well!

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