Updated: Nov 4
September 30th honours the lost children and survivors of residential and day schools, their families and communities. It also recognizes the ongoing trauma, present day impacts, and the lasting legacy of Canada's residential and day school system. Formerly known as Orange Shirt Day, we now honour this day as National Day for Truth and Reconciliation as it is a direct result of Call to Action 80 of the 2015 Truth and Reconciliation Commission.
There were many public events all over the country to participate in and learn from, and several in our local communities as well. But at LCCC we see the importance of introducing facts of injustice and raising awareness of Canada's tragic history to the children in our care as well. Regardless of age, there is always a developmentally appropriate way in which we can teach children about this history so they begin to have the knowledge and ability to stand up for a more equitable future for themselves, their peers and all children.
Orange Shirt Significance
There is a real significance behind the wearing of an orange shirt and the initial namesake of National Day for Truth and Reconciliation. Residential School Survivor Phyllis Webstad recalls wearing a brand new orange shirt to school that her grandmother bought for her, only to later have it stripped from her body that same day by school authorities. She never got it back. The colour orange has since been a reminder to her of how she felt in that moment: That no one cared, and her feelings didn't matter.
We are constantly guiding the children in our care to understand their own autonomy and the importance of their emotions, big and small. It's a privileged to be in a position where we can help comfort a child who is experiencing emotion, and support their emotionally development by connecting it to tangible experiences of internal thoughts. Many of our classrooms crafted Orange Shirts, and the self expression that each child put forward while creating them, is a critical part of their emotional development journey.
One child in the School Age room even asked to lead their own workshop on how to craft an Orange Shirt. Their workshop included an explanation on the importance of positive affirmations, and the child assisted their peers in writing their own positive affirmation on each of their Orange Shirts.
The word "Inukshuk" means "in the likeness of a human". These impressive stone structures have been used for generations to serve as landmarks, hunting guides or warning signs from one human to another. Several of our classrooms led a discussion on the significance of Inukshuks, and then encouraged their children to create their own with various loose parts. The results are incredible, noting the uniqueness of each Inukshuk and the values it was created with.
As educators, we acknowledge our responsibility to teach, guide and lead our children in lessons of equity and hard truths. We do this to help them grow into an understanding of the world around them, and instil a sense of community, empathy and self respect in them as well. It's a responsibility we do not take lightly, as it's a privilege to help shape the leaders of tomorrow, today.