Board to salute Early Years ‘camp’


Mine Centre School will receive the Rainy River District School Board’s “Recognition of Excellence” for its Early Years camp at tonight’s regular monthly meeting.
“This year, the Early Years team has taken outdoor learning to a new level by developing an outdoor classroom, as part of the Early Years program,” stated a report to the board from principal Barb Dennis.
She noted “camp” (as the children call it) is a small clearing located just down the road—a short walking distance from the school.
Dennis noted teacher Marjorie Hale believed her students would benefit from time spent outdoors, playing and learning together.
She enlisted the help of Gail Jones, cultural co-coordinator for Nigigoonsiminikaaning First Nation, in developing a long-range plan for this inquiry-based, experiential learning project.
“The plan included activities focused on learning what cyclic seasonal changes happen in our natural environment; learning names of local animals and plants in Ojibway; learning how to use simple tools and materials such as magnifiers, snowshoes, small shovels, and diggers; and learning to appreciate and give thanks to Mother Earth for all she provides,” Dennis said.
The Early Years class has been visiting their outdoor classroom once a week, participating in a wide variety of activities that are connected to all areas of the curriculum and often are rich in the Ojibwe language and culture.
“The Early Years team have observed the children developing a sense of wonder about their environment, and a personal connection to the Earth and this special place that they call ‘camp,’” Dennis added.
Also at tonight’s meeting, trustees will:
•hear a report about the board’s Indigenous Education Strategy;
•look to approve the following policies for stakeholder consultation: 7.00 (Occupational Health and Safety) and 2.69 (Research Requests);
•look to rescind Policy 4.55 (Student Alcohol and Drug Use Prevention);
•look to approve the amendment to the Board Procedural Bylaw; and
•hear a report about the board’s graduation rates from 2011-15.
The meeting gets underway at 7 p.m. at the Education Centre here (board office).