Meaningful inclusion of culture in Early Childhood

Since completing my Masters degree back in 2018, I have been busy, back in the classroom teaching Kindergarten on Reserve. I love the school, the children, the families, and our community. Our school strives to find a balance between including First Nation ceremonies and practices, within a Western education system. One of the practices is to smudge every morning and recite the morning prayer in Saulteaux. For a few years we started the day with a daily smudge, with the entire school gathering in the gym or in the hallway (pre-Covid). Children are invited to smudge and teachers and older students model how to smudge up to start the day in a good way. Older children (Grades 5-8) are helpers who bring the smudge around. For my kindergarteners, I found it helpful at the beginning of the year to teach children the phrases from the Smudge Prayer. As I smudge I whisper the prayer so the children standing next to me can hear. I make sure I stand beside different children every morning so that all can hear the areas we smudge and the meaning behind it. Please not that children are not forced to smudge, but are invited to participate if they choose. Smudging up first thing in the morning is a calming, peaceful way to start the day, while honoring our culture and spiritual practice.


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