A few months ago I had the opportunity to visit the Dene First Nation community of NDilo in the Northwest Territories. I was inspired to visit the local school – K’Alemi Dene School because of the unique heritage of its community. I was curious to learn more about how this community, its teachers and students took the provincial Kindergarten curriculum document – The NWT Integrated Kindergarten Curriculum: A Holistic Approach to Children’s Early Learning, and made it their own. I had the opportunity to chat with the kindergarten teachers and students about their learning program as well as tour the school. Below are a few of my favourite photographs from my school tour which capture the unique heritage of the students at K’Alemi Dene School. I hope you enjoy them!
My visit to K’Alemi Dene School left me incredibly inspired by the school’s commitment to creating a natural space by its design and inclusion of materials such as bedrock, birch and attention to natural light. The close relationship between elders in the community and the school is evident through the many meaningful learning experiences for students of all grades such as canoe building, learning about traditional arts and outdoor education. My biggest takeaway from visiting NDilo and K’Alemi Dene School was the importance of making the diversity and culture of our students visible through artefacts, learning experiences and everyday conversations. Learning about education in our North was such a eye opening experience, and left me incredibly excited to get back into the classroom in a few short months!