The Learning Journeys Series is a unique educational program embarked upon to teach Kindergarten children the difference between normal childhood conflict and bullying behaviours.

 

The Learning Journeys Series was made possible by School District No. 20, City of Trail, BC Safe Schools, School District No. 20 Safe Schools, School District No. 20 Kindergarten Teachers, School District No. 20 Aboriginal Education Program, and the National Crime Prevention Strategy.

 

The project committee consisted of a Crime Prevention Officer, a teacher on the Safe Schools Committee, an Aboriginal Education Teacher, and an Aboriginal Education Cultural Coordinator. It is the hopes of this committee that, by introducing the program early in a child's development, there will be successful intervention in the way children resolve life skills problems. The stories relate to situations the children deal with on a daily basis in their school and community.

 

Aboriginal animals and drawings have been chosen to illustrate these books, as many of these teachings compare animal life characteristics to human life solving skills. The stories introduce culture, science, social studies and language skills, all in an effort to reduce bullying.

 

It is widely acknowledged that bullying is prevalent among older students from primary school onwards. For children attending kindergarten, "bullying" is sometimes seen as an inappropriate term to describe their negative interpersonal behaviour. Studies have not confirmed that kindergarten children do deliberately engage repeatedly in aggressive behaviours directed towards peers who are in a given situation less powerful than they area. That is, they do engage in bullying. (Reference: School of Education, University of South Australia - www.education.unisa.edu.au/bullying/meta.pdf)

Introducing simple stories related to bullying will help enlighten children at an early age to simple problem-solving skills when previously they may have used bullying techniques. In addition, the cultural aspect of the teachings will introduce the Aboriginal culture, providing an early introduction into multiculturalism.

 

The story ideas were suggested by kindergarten teachers. At the end of each story there is a lesson. The stories contained in this series enhance Safe Schools themes, while incorporating First Nations animals:
     ~ Salmon: wisdom, inner-self
     ~ Eagle: courage, spirit, bravery, vision, healing
     ~ Bear: introspection, gentle strength, dreaming
     ~ Wolf: teacher, pathfinder, intuitive guidance, guardianship
     ~ Porcupine: innocence, balancing work and play
     ~ Frog: cleansing, fertility, new beginnings
     ~ Hummingbird: love, joy, dreams, accomplishments, friendships, playfulness
     ~ Coyote: trickster, shapeshifting, wisdom, folly
     ~ Beaver: builder, working for our dreams

 

Book One: Working Together
     "Working Together" talks about lining up (lining up is an ongoing problem with students). The book tells of the salmon going upstream and how everyone is special, no matter where you are in the line.
     Artwork: Haida salmon and natural salmon
     Lesson: Everyone is important, everyone is special.

 

Book Two: Sharing Spaces
     "Sharing Spaces" begins with John pushing Jack out of the way, to get on the swing.
     Bear and Eagle have a similar conflict with Bear pushing Eagle from the tree. They are able to resolve their conflict by making better choices than pushing.
     Artwork: Haida Eagle and natural bear
     Lesson: Like Eagle, we need to tell others when we are feeling uncomfortable and use our wisdom to find better choices for us all.

 

Book Three: New Friendships
     Corey takes Bobby's crayons without asking. Coyote and Wolf go through the same scenario and resolve their conflict, becoming friends.
     Artwork: Natural wolf and Prairie Aboriginal Coyote drawing
     Lesson: Like Coyote and Wolf we too can learn how important it is to share. Always ask before taking or touching other peoples' belongings.

 

 

Book Four: Accepting Differences
     George feels like he does not belong in the classroom. It is not stated why George is different - that has been left up to classroom discussion. Porcupine and Hummingbird are used as comparison; Porcupine feels alone and Hummingbird is friendly with everyone.
     Artwork: Natural Porcupine and Haida Hummingbird
     Lesson: Everyone can learn to understand and accept each others' differences.

 

Book Five: Believe in Yourself
     Sarah is a physically disabled child who believes she cannot participate in the playground activities. Frog teaches Beaver that he can still do many of the things he did before his accident, just in a different way.
     Artwork: Natural beaver and Sinixt (Kootenay Aboriginal) Frog
     Lesson: Look at what you can do and believe in yourself and others

 

Book Six: Care and Respect
     Book Six is a synopsis of the other five books. Mother Earth, Elders and the importance of nature are introduced. The children go for a hike through the forest with the Elders to observe the beauty of nature.
     Lesson: Care and respect all of the gifts Mother Earth has given us.

 

The Learning Journeys Series is available for purchase by school districts, libraries, community agencies and other interested parties. Each set contains 6 storybooks plus a teacher's resource manual/CD.

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