NOVEMBER 2, 2022 -- The months of September and October have been busy for Albert Community School staff, students and families. There have been many activities in and around the school to celebrate re-engagement of students and families who have not had the opportunity to engage with the school as a community since the onset of COVID.
Albert Community School has welcomed new staff into the building and with that there was a new session of ribbon shirt and skirt making. Some of the staff have never sewn before but that does not stop the fun of trying and visiting with colleagues after school while working on a meaningful project. The best part of the project is not only visiting with each other but the sharing of material designs, discussing ribbon choice, and the realization that the shirts and skirts are much more than a piece of clothing, but a representation of each person’s personality. These ribbon shirts and skirts will surely be worn at different times throughout the year at Albert.
The pancake breakfast was the first time that families have been welcomed back into the school since the onset of COVID-19. Students, along with their parents, were glad to be back in the building to celebrate the beginning of the year with breakfast. A lot of parents toured the school and went to see classrooms. Parents made comments about how much they like the new greetings on the walls and how the greetings represent their vision of what Albert School should be about—welcoming, culturally significant recognition and a safe space.
During Albert’s pancake breakfast, there was a place to smudge and students took part in smudging before they came into the school. Some new parents and families new to the school not familiar with Indigenous culture asked about smudging and protocols. After the conversation, they asked if they could take part in smudging and commented on how the sage smelled—that it was a calming smell and was a great way to start the day.
The Food Bank was at Albert School to sign up families who may need food security assistance. They also informed parents that they now deliver directly to the home. There is no more need to find transportation to and from the Food Bank for families who already have very limited resources. Albert School’s Dream Broker also had a booth set up. He was able to connect with families, introduce himself to those who had never met him before, and explain the process to get students registered for after-school activities. The North Central Family Centre was also at the community pancake breakfast. They, too, were there to introduce themselves to new families and explain their role in the community and how important their organization is to students, especially the after-school program.
All of this was intended to help foster the re-engagement process of families, students and community members after the distancing and isolation resulting from COVID-19 restrictions. How we respond during and after this pandemic will be what our future generations will look to evaluate.
Let’s leave a trail of kindness, an understanding of how sacred Mother Earth actually is, the need to be on the land to help us heal, and, above all, supporting each other unconditionally as we walk this journey together.