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Braiding Indigenous Knowledges at Southland’s International Baccalaureate Programme

| Categories: Student Success, School & Student News, Indigenous

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Southlands Elementary's International Baccalaureate Primary Years Programme (IB PYP) is an inclusive model of learning that aims to develop students' academic, social and emotional wellbeing, focusing on international-mindedness and strong personal values. Because Southlands Elementary is near the Musqueam Nations Reserve, the school serves a large population of Indigenous students. As a result, the program weaves in Indigenous knowledges, something that is particularly unique to Southlands.

Back in December, Margaret Paxton, Principal of Southlands Elementary was invited to speak at a UBC conference where teachers and administrators from across the province came together to talk about Indigenous Education. Paxton presented her findings about the benefits of the District's IB Programme and why this learning environment is so important for the students. "Social-emotional learning is the foundation of everything we do [at Southlands]," said Paxton. "If we weave the First Peoples Principles of Learning into how and what we teach, we will help strengthen the identities of our Indigenous youth, and benefit all students by teaching holistically, reflectively and experientially," adds Paxton.

Joanna Wood is the PYP Coordinator at Southlands Elementary. Wood shared at the conference on why relationships with students are key to the IB programme's success at Southlands. "Trust and understanding must be present for learning to occur," said Wood. "Students thrive in an environment when they have voice, choice, and ownership over their learning," adds Wood.

District Principal of Indigenous Education, Chas Desjarlais was also in attendance at the conference. "I see great opportunities for IB at Southlands. Braiding Indigenous Knowledges and pedagogy into their programming as they value the importance of lifelong learning as a journey of coming to know oneself in relation to the land – local, national and international contexts," said Desjarlais.

The District also had the opportunity to sit down with a few students from Southlands to understand more about what they are learning in school and what they love about the IB Programme!

Interested in learning more about our IB Programme at Southlands? Join us for an information session on January 21st, from 6:30 pm to 7:30 pm at Southlands Elementary! View our list of information sessions here.

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