Monday, 18 December 2017

Focusing on Love and Respect at Albert School

This fall Albert staff set out to create a climate of belonging, where children feel safe, respected and valued.  As a staff we wanted to craft an environment that emphasizes high expectations for all, with rules that are predictable, consistent and fair. We embraced The Seven Sacred Teachings as our overarching focus. These are teachings that are based on First Nations cultural tradition that draw attention to human conduct towards others. Each of the teachings honours one of the basic virtues that is fundamental to living a full and healthy life: love, respect, courage, honesty, wisdom, humility, and truth. Our aim is to help students attain these characteristics and flourish in school and in life.

Mr. Stevenson, our Grade 4/5 teacher, suggested we begin with the virtue of love.  He reminded us that everything evolves out of love. He expressed that if one cannot love oneself, it is impossible to love anyone else. His students taught our entire student body what it means to show love. Each student came up before the school and stated what love means to them. They explained that the eagle is the animal representation of love. His class created beautiful eagles to put up around our school to remind us that only the eagle has the ability to fly higher than any other animal and the strength to carry all of the other teachings.

Elder Dixon also played a huge role in helping our students learn about this virtue.  She shared the importance to loving yourself first and said that you have to be right with yourself and happy on your own, before you can love anyone else.  She helped students understand that in order to have lasting connections with people, you have to build trust, live with integrity, show compassion and forgiveness. This is the essence of love.

It would be impossible to create a positive learning environment without respect.  The Grade 5/6 class, led by Mr. Fraser and Mr. Burzminski taught our student body that respect is reflected in how you treat each other on a daily basis. They created a video to show the school the meaning of respect  It emphasized that respect means acting in a way that shows you care. It is not about doing things to hurt someone because you don’t feel happy. It is about valuing others and treating others how you would want to be treated.  Special thanks to Mrs. Agecoutay-Sweet, who also shared a powerful message about respect with our students.

Since we have been focusing on The Seven Sacred Teachings we have seen a lot of progress. It takes a great deal of time, effort and commitment to create and maintain a positive school culture, but nothing could be more rewarding than learning from one another and growing stronger together!  

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