I became a humble student to my teachers, the grade 1/2s, today.
The entire school was included in our sacred circle as the stories unraveled one after the other with precision, energized commitment, contrast and mastery!
Blind wolves closed their eyes using their hoops and shields as guideposts then transformed into avalanches.
Wild horses mirrored the pain of exclusion pulling away as their elastics echoed the tension then expanded into a full moon. Spirit Guides appeared using large hoops.
Comedic coyotes demonstrated entertaining stylized pratfalls in the hoodoos and found the lyrical moments while building a giant eagle with flapping wings that morphed into a blossoming lotus flower.
The Circle of Courage shields danced like flames, became family portraits and rebuilt a beautiful forest from the bear’s “tears of humanity”.
Cloth billowed, lifted and angled as the Northern Lights came alive for a Barred Owl who insisted on her own skill power to get her home. Spirit Guide poses wafted through the space as we watched in wonder.
I was speechless, almost giddy from what I witnessed. Did I mention that we did two full summations of learning in one day?
I handed a young student my drumstick and told the audience that it was symbolic. I explained that by giving him the stick, he had the control and I must follow his rhythm. What the Capitol Hill students gave me was a rhythm for my heart that I will carry within me forever. It was a rhythm of trust and pure belief in the work we had created together.
In the hallways teachers had painstakingly illustrated our journey with comments and images honouring the process and affirming my collaborative work with each carefully designed collage. Their understanding of my methods was clear and celebrated.
Many thanks to Ms. Dalton (Principal) and Ms. Demuth (Assistant Principal) for supporting the vision and making my visit welcoming!
The stalwart Grade ½ team of Claire Charland-Ford, Cathy Defoe, Tasha Adharsingh, Jen Purves and Bonnie Kooner were very present in each discovery offering help, guidance and inspiring me with their commitment to our work.
"You Belong With Us" - by Grade 1/2
This painting is a picture of the story we created with Lana. There is a herd of wild horses that feel free. They don't believe that the wild horse has special powers so they make her feel like she doesn't belong with the herd.
It is important to feel like we belong so we don't feel left out or lonely. Sometimes other people's actions can make you feel angry or sad. If they act like you don't belong, you end up feeling horrible. If you don't belong you might feel like you don't want to do anything because you think you are different than everyone else.
We all need friends so that we don't have to do things on our own.
We need people to cheer us on. There are many things that make us different but there are also many things that make us all the same. We are human. We feel the same emotions.
I was so overwhelmed with joy after leaving that I realized I had forgotten some equipment and had to drive back. Luckily, Ms. Demuth was still there. We both laughed and she said, “You know when you leave something behind it means that you want to return.”
My heart skipped a beat. I would return in a minute.
Love to all of the students and parents who ventured out this evening to watch Language arts and Social Studies knit together in stories of independence, courage and belonging.
How blessed the world is to have your kids in it!
You have made me so grateful for this residency and fulfilled both as an artist and a seeker of hope.