UBC Graduate Research

Teaching Aboriginal education : responding to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission's calls to action for early childhood classrooms Desjardins, Danielle


In response to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (2015) Calls to Action, my capstone project explores ways in which to implement Aboriginal pedagogy in early childhood programs (Pre K-K) in the province of Saskatchewan, Canada. Grounded within socio-cultural theory, I focus on four aspects of Aboriginal pedagogy: relationships with family and community, experiential learning, storytelling, and relationship with the land. From the literature reviewed and the resources gathered, I found that implementing Aboriginal pedagogy, connected with place-based education and Social and Emotional Learning (SEL) into early childhood classrooms enhances children’s understanding of the cultural context, and strengthens their relationship with, the place in which they live. In connecting this research to practice, I included my own experiences as a parent and a teacher, as well as draw from examples of early childhood educators who are currently incorporating Aboriginal pedagogy, history, and culture into their programs. As an outcome of this project, I developed a website that is focused on implementing Aboriginal pedagogy in early childhood (Pre K - K) in Saskatchewan in order to support educators, and as a response to the TRC’s (2015) Call to Action in education to share lesson plans and best practices. Based on the findings from the literature reviewed, I recommend pre-service and in-service education on Aboriginal pedagogy, culture, and history, with a focus on place-based education, and building children’s capacity for empathy to support both Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal young learners.

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