Culture for Kids
Mother Earth’s Children’s Charter School is fortunate enough to occupy a large portion of mostly undeveloped land, which allows for us to use the outdoors as an extension of our classroom space. However, it has become increasingly evident that having a designated camp area would be advantageous as it would allow us to maximize our use of the outdoors.
We are proposing to develop a small section of land adjacent to our shop area that has, in the past, been used as our Culture Camp space. With the support of the Field Law Community Fund Program, we hope to be able to construct a permanent lean-to shelter with a gravel floor, a cement pad where we can place portable toilets as needed, and clear brush so that we can erect up to four tipis. We would also like to be able to provide a semi-permanent water supply, either by running a pipe from the existing shop building, or by installing a large cistern, which can be filled as needed and can dispense water through the use of gravity.
In addition to being users of the completed space, we would involve our students in the planning and construction of the Culture Camp area (to the degree that they are able). Providing students with the opportunity to be a part of the process from beginning to end will allow them to not only develop practical skills and perseverance, but will also connect curriculum to Culture in a meaningful way.
Our future plans include offering up our facility as a learning center. Our students and community members are excited to be able to share knowledge and provide opportunities for other user groups to experience Aboriginal Culture in a natural setting. Upgrades to our outdoor facility would allow us to do this.
Who Will it Benefit?
This project will impact more than just the students who attend our school. The small community which we find ourselves a part of would also benefit from being able to use the space. The Elder who lives on site could make use of the area should he choose to, in order to hold Ceremonies. We also have connections to a group who makes use of the existing site once a year for a reunion who would benefit from an improved site.
When we took over our current site, we had plans to open it up to school groups from the local area and offer programming that would enhance their ability to connect to Alberta’s First Nations People. We were unable to realize this vision because of the conditions on site. With the addition of running water and a place to situate washrooms outdoors, we would be more likely to be able to give other groups the opportunity to use our outdoor space without having to give them access to our school building. An enhanced site will allow us to expand and grow out into the local community and will provide for richer and broader opportunities not only for the students who attend our school, but also the local people.