This project focuses on the ways an International Baccalaureate Primary Years Programme and an Indigenous Knowledge framework have the potential to support children’s learning in an urban, low-income school community that has a significant Indigenous student population. An IB philosophy focuses on developing inquiring, knowledgeable, and caring students who help to create a better and more peaceful world through intercultural understanding and respect. An Indigenous learning framework focuses on the resilience and self-reliance of Indigenous people and is an adaptable, dynamic system that is based on skills, abilities, and relationships that change over time. In partnership with the North Vancouver School District and members of the Squamish First Nation, this project explores primary students’ perspectives on their school environment through multiple modes, such as drawing, digital photography, and storytelling which provided an access point into what they valued at school. The students’ perspectives on their learning environment are also guided by three IB transdisciplinary themes: Who We Are; Where We are in Place and Time; and, How We Express Ourselves. The data revealed their significant interest in their out-of-school environment which reflects a place-based pedagogy. This pedagogical approach focuses on the relevance of children learning about local culture, land, and languages first to establish a strong sense of belonging and identity before addressing wider issues and making connections with other global learning communities.
Community partners include teachers, support staff, primary students, administrators, and Squamish community members. This research project was presented at the 2014 International Baccalaureate Conference of the Americas in Washington DC. The conference theme focused on diverse ways of knowing in local and global contexts.