46. Unlearning and Decolonizing Education

District:  No. 79. (Cowichan)

Continuing Q’Shintul – Walking Together – The Story of Mill Bay Nature School, in exploring what is possible and faithful to its place in/as a new nature school, this project facilitates “the storying of our school birthing and ongoing development” in a good way. It is a model full of possibilities coming to realize itself with students, their communities, educators (fellow learners) in the cultural leadership of the Cowichan and Malahat First Nations. With guidance and trust from two elders-in-residence, the project is co-composing learning environments with wisdom from a Hul’q’umi’num village structure to nurture the gifts that all xe’xe xmun’een (sacred children) inherently hold – and continuing to ask how decolonization and unlearning sustain transformative pedagogy and practice “so that our community flourishes.”

As its initial project artifact, this project has shared the Mill Bay Nature School Field Guide (PDF opens in a new window).

From this project’s documentation with Growing Innovation, here is an artifact (stay tuned!). 

Here is Q’Shintul’s 2018-2019 final project report (opens in new tab).

This project update was shared at the 2020 Symposium (.pdf opens in a new tab).

And here is an excerpt that speaks well to this project’s unique promise.(.pdf opens in a new tab)

Project documentation videos are now availble – on Q’shintul (Mill Bay Nature School), leadership as seen through this unique project and solely from the points of view of children involved. With immense gratitude and respect to all who have spoken, thought and shared with us about this historic project

The videos on this page document the work of the Growing Innovation Initiative (a partnership among the University of British Columbia the BC Ministry of Education and a number of schools, educators and school districts).  The videos consist of thematic films (‘The Path is Made By Walking’ about the theme of innovation and ‘The Community is Learning About Itself’ about the theme of Community) such as these issues have emerged as central to supported projects as well as project videos (from the East Kootenays, Haida Gwaii, North Vancouver Island, Salt Spring Island, the West Kootenays, Ft. St. John, Dawson Creek, Mill Bay and Lasqueti Island). They have been created in place-conscious dialogues with over 400 project participants in nearing 70 projects (and counting!).  We admire and appreciate the courage and commitment of all of the teachers, students, administrators and community members for the leadership of their participation in documentation conversations, and moreso for their commitment to transformation in rural education in British Columbia. A lot is depending on them.

From documentation gathered at the end of its first year, but developed into three videos in 2021, the ongoing ethical-educational venture, Q’shintul, or Mill Bay Nature School, shines forth from the beginning as an innovative project that aims to respond to history in education, here in three views. First an overview of the project in many of the voices of those involved:

Next, considering leadership in the restructuring of public education in Indigenous direction:

And, finally, in the voices of the children involved:

What a school garden can do to a school, for a community, to how we think about and practice education!  From beautiful Crawford Bay in the West Kootenay region of British Columbia we are privileged to be able to share some of the Crawford Bay School Garden Project, as somewhere much more than food is grown (although they certainly grow a lot of that).  With many thanks to Jessie King and Kate Okros (and Dan Rude, who was key in the project’s early days), we are happy to take you into the sun, on the soil, in the toil and a great exhale in which a community may find itself in the garden, at the school:

Here’s a new video in 2017, and a companion to the one above.  Very grateful to be invited to document the remarkable and transformative work of the Outdoor Classroom-Foods Work project on Haida Gwaii, we worked with Daniel Schulbeck, project leader and educator extrordinaire, to document some of the subjective dimensions of the project, from the challenges of responding to place in education, its implication in relationships, community and approaches to change in education, as well as the place of foods work in education and curriculum.  This one unfolds at its own pace, offering a conversation of insights on each theme:

We are proud to have a new Growing Innovation Project video to share.  This one is from one of our original projects, and concerns the remarkable transformations arising from a Connected Classrooms project in British Columbia’s Gold Trail School District (#74), a project that connects students, schools and communities as diverse as Ashcroft, Cache Creek, Clinton, Lytton and Lilooet, B.C.

Here is our video on the theme of innovation:

As a kind of a road trip, this one takes up the question of community in innovative change in education:

https://player.vimeo.com/video/102942882And now, the original six Growing Innovation project videos:

This is about the Connecting Generations project on Salt Spring Island:

This one is about Digital Heritage Connect in the West Kootenays:

Here is the one about a project based at False Bay school on Lasqueti Island:

From north Vancouver Island, here is the one about Collaboration Without Boundaries:

About an initiative in Inquiry & Project-Based Learning, this one is from Dawson Creek, in the Peace River country of North-Eastern B.C.:

This is a video about unique school called the Energetic Learning Campus in Fort St. John, also in the Peace River country of North-Eastern B.C.: