If Canada’s aboriginal people had classrooms 10,000 years ago, they may have looked like the learning space installed this winter on the east side of Delhi District Secondary School.
The classroom features 22 large, flat-top rocks in a circle about 40 feet in diameter. The open-air facility includes two large planter boxes for the production of herbs and a mural on the south side based on aboriginal themes.
“This is a commemoration of circle learning – learning in an aboriginal kind of way,” says geography teacher Colleen Bator, who unveiled the facility Monday during Earth Day festivities.
The facility was installed with the help of government grants and donations from the community. Individuals, families and businesses that put up $100 are acknowledged on the rocks with their names engraved on metal plaques. The idea of the space is to put students in touch with nature.
“It’s to get people out and getting fresh air,” says Sabrina Sergeant, a fifth-year student at DDSS who is also a member of the school’s Extreme Green Team. “It’s a different environment from sitting in a class with a teacher at the front. Who doesn’t want to be outside, especially in the summer when the weather is nice?”
Bator convened a geography class in the learning circle on Monday where the first order of business was the planting of the herbs. The herbs will grow in a space where they can be plucked and passed live through a window to students during cooking classes.
DDSS’s Extreme Green Team also marked Earth Day with the establishment of a Commitment Tree on the wall of the school’s cafeteria. Students were given cut-out maple leaves and asked to write an environmental commitment on them. Examples included “Shorter showers,” “Turn off radio when not in use” and “Commit to thinking how my actions impact the Earth” among dozens of others.
After Bator’s students planted the herbs, they retired to the school to watch The Story of Stuff, a documentary narrated by Scottish rock diva Annie Lennox on the consumer society and how wasteful it can be.
“It’s about needs versus wants and the life cycle of things we consume that we don’t really need,” Bator said. “It’s really good.”
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