“My name is Melissa Marrandino and I am a high school art and shop teacher at Salmo Secondary as well as the AbEd Coordinator for the school. I organized with Kat to bring our grade 7 students and their teacher to 4 Nations Coalition to the outdoor classroom opportunity to learn through a hands-on activity called Tribal Challenge. After introductions, review of the code of conduct and idle chatter, the students were respectfully raring to go. The guidelines of the game were well laid out and easy for students to follow and on reflection, the students understood that learning primitive survival skills within a team, taught them a bit more about themselves and the importance of communication while unknowingly they gained self-confidence and a sense of purpose. Just as important, the experience reminded them to be aware of their surroundings and the environment. The students had fun and felt proud to have come up with ideas that hadn’t been thought of in the history of the game. Due to the students’ enthusiasm, we are planning to extend the learning during an overnight excursion on site to go deeper into the teachings of botany, animal tracking, fire starting and shelter building. We all look forward to the time we meet again. Thank you, Kat and Frog, for a great day!”
Teacher Testimonial for Four Nations Coalition of Indigenous Medicine
From our initial contact to our days on the land, I was summarily impressed by the level professionalism of Four Nations Coalition of Indigenous Medicine. The variety of the programs available to our students was only outdone by the purposeful design to make connections between the new BC Curriculum based on its Core Competencies and Big Ideas, and the First Peoples of Principles of Learning. Four Nations is poised to provide numerous opportunities for learners to meet many of these standards and make connections to classroom lesson, too.
The power of experiential learning, the connections to land and place, have had profound effects on some of our most at-risk and struggling learners. At Four Nations, the care and attention to these details that ensured that a culturally relevant, valued, and highly engaging learning environment was experienced by all of our learners for those with behaviour and/or learning challenges.
The combined capacity of the highly trained facilitators possesses an amazing sense of knowledge, wisdom, and the essential elements of humour and respect at the forefront. And, most importantly, they get kids. The connections that the facilitators make with students is reinforced throughout the lessons, activities, and teachable moments in a failure free and supportive learning environment.
I wholeheartedly recommend Four Nations Coalition of Indigenous Medicine for any teacher looking for further enhance their students’ perspectives not only on indigenous ways of learning, but of connected ways of knowing.
Vice-Principal & Aboriginal Education Program Coordinator
Trafalgar Middle School
Aboriginal Cultural Coordinator
SD#8 Trail, B.C.
Jan. 15th, 2016
To Whom It May Concern,
I am writing this letter of reference for Kathryn McCooeye and the Four Nations Coalition of Indigenous Medicine.
In my capacity as Aboriginal Cultural Coordinator for SD #20, I have organized and personally accompanied groups of our students to the Four Nations facility. What I discovered was a superb, authentic Aboriginal Cultural Outdoor program that is outstanding in its delivery of comprehensive content to both teachers and children alike.
The staff at Four Nations exhibit not only a great passion for their work, but are very knowledgeable in traditional Aboriginal, land-based cultural expertise. Their ability to deliver a safe, fun, friendly and professional service that engages students of all ages, is outstanding.
I highly recommend the Four Nations Programs as an essential contribution to our educational community as our school districts strive to move toward embracing the New Curriculum from the Ministry of Education.
If you want your students or yourself to learn in a supportive, inclusive environment that reflects Aboriginal Worldview, Perspectives and Principles of Learning; this is it.
Thank you for your attention.