We know that many First Nations and First Nations schools are busy making plans to support continued learning opportunities for students while classes are suspended. The First Nations Education Steering Committee (FNESC) and First Nations Schools Association (FNSA) fully respect the authority of each First Nation to make decisions about the continued operations of their schools and staff during this time. We also recognize that community and school representatives best understand local needs and circumstances.
In order to assist you in carrying out this work, we have prepared a Suggestions for Continuous Learning document that shares some suggestions for engaging and easy to implement remote learning activities that require resources that families ideally have in their homes. We have also tried to identify learning opportunities for students and families who have varying access to the internet and online options.
- Suggestions for Continuous Learning, Edition 1 (pdf | docx)
- Suggestions for Continuous Learning, Edition 2 (pdf | docx)
- Suggestions for Families: Supporting Learning at Home (pdf | docx)
- Online Learning Resources: Review and Privacy Considerations (pdf)
Activities by Grade
We will be updating these resources over time and we encourage you to share your ideas for inclusion in future versions. FNESC staff are also available to support First Nations schools and communities in exploring continued learning opportunities further.
We wish you all the best and we welcome your feedback on this new document. First Nations schools and communities are invited to send feedback and activity ideas for possible inclusion.
Recognizing that First Nations have authority for the education of their citizens, including having full responsibility for their own schools, how First Nations choose to address continued learning while their schools are closed will vary from community to community.
Within that context, this resource is intended to provide suggestions that teachers and education leaders can adapt and share with their families and students through mechanisms that best suit their particular circumstances.
This resource is being shared to offer guidance to First Nation and First Nation school representatives as they consider how to promote continued learning opportunities for students while their classes are suspended.
FNESC and FNSA fully respect the authority of each First Nation to make decisions about the continued operations of their schools and staff during this time of change. We also recognize that community and school representatives best understand local needs, circumstances, and decisions, including varying levels of family access to resources, technology, and connectivity, and differing opportunities for community and school staff to provide learning materials to students and families who might be restricted to their homes.
FNESC and FNSA acknowledge that it is up to First Nations to determine:
- whether school staff should continue working while classes are suspended, and if so whether they should work in the school or from home;
- whether all school and community facilities should be closed, including outdoor parks and playgrounds;
- whether school staff should be phoning / emailing / texting students and families directly; and
- whether packages of learning materials can be safely provided to families and students.
All of those factors will impact on what remote learning activities are possible.
Therefore, these suggestions and ideas are being shared with educators and education leaders in First Nations schools to be adapted and used as appropriate to benefit students and families in varying contexts.
This resource will be updated and periodically redistributed to reflect feedback from community and school representatives, and as new suggestions arise. We welcome ideas for other activities.
Additional information will also be provided as the response from the BC Ministry of Education is clarified, recognizing that the Ministry is also preparing suggestions for continuity of education while public and Independent schools are closed. For First Nations schools with Independent School status, additional information may be provided by the Independent Schools Branch. We encourage Independent Schools to monitor any Independent School-specific information and expectations, as well.
Considerations for the Suggested Continued Learning Opportunities
- First Nations leaders across the country have announced that their communities are in a state of emergency. In this situation, while remote learning activities can be valuable and beneficial for students and families, the health of First Nations citizens (both physical and mental) and community safety are the primary priorities.
- Many First Nations are requesting that only people in one household should be together. Any First Nation directives regarding self-isolation / possible lock-down procedures must be respected first and foremost.
- In these challenging times, it is particularly important to encourage parents, children and other family members in the same household to enjoy quality time together at home.
- Any recommended remote / home learning activities should not become a source of anxiety for students and families; student and family mental and emotional well-being cannot be compromised by introducing additional stress through overly prescriptive or unrealistic learning expectations.
- It is not feasible to replicate a school day while school is suspended and children cannot gather together with teachers and other school staff.
- Home learning activities must be reasonable; they should not require excessive time and resources that not all families will have available. Suggested activities should not encourage families to leave their homes to access supplies.
- Many home learning activities can meet the learning standards in the BC curriculum.
- Home learning activities should not require students / parents gathering with people from different households.
- All activities must be safe for everyone involved.
- Home learning activities will ideally be of interest to parents and students, and they should be enjoyable and hands-on as much as possible.
- Cultural activities and language learning opportunities can be an important part of suggested home learning activities.
- Technology equipment and internet access may be limited in some homes, and on-line options cannot be relied on as the only remote learning option. Teachers may be able to connect with families and students on-line, or by email, through Facebook or other social media, by telephone, or through text messaging in order to offer support and guidance.
FNESC staff also are available to assist First Nations school educators and education leaders in discussing remote learning opportunities and how they connect to the curriculum, including helping with ideas that: are easy to implement; can be undertaken in a range of circumstances; and respect the importance of families supporting one another and enjoying time together, especially during stressful circumstances. Please feel free to contact firstname.lastname@example.org for further assistance.
Ministry of Education launched a website, Keep Learning, to provide families with ideas for everyday educational activities, links to free learning resources, and tips for how to help children learn and stay well while they are at home.