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Sherwood Park, AB. – While all tastes are subjective, there were certainly no complaints at a recent food tasting at Strathcona Christian Academy (SCA) Elementary. The school’s Grade 1 classes took part in a recent First Nations Food Tasting—a hands-on learning experience aimed at teaching students about Indigenous culture, perspective and history. “I didn’t know if I’d like all the food, but I did,” says Briar, a Grade 1 student at SCA Elementary. “I also learned it was a lot harder to get food in the past, than it is now.”

The First Nations Food Tasting kicked off with a short lesson plan around traditional Indigenous food including how it was sourced, prepared and preserved to last. Students were then broken into six groups to sample six different types of food. Station 1 was the tea station and included both peppermint tea and orange-peel tea. Station 2 was a meat station with moose meatballs, elk meatballs, goose and duck. Station 3 featured a wild-rice dish. Station 4 was bannock, made with and without gluten. Station 5 was a vegetable station sampling squash, corn and potatoes. Finally, Station 6 included apples and dried fruit.

“Other than an initial resistance to the vegetable station, the students loved the food,” says Janet Vader, the First Nation, Métis and Inuit lead teacher at SCA Elementary. “They were all excited, receptive and generally surprised by how much work traditionally went into preparing food—comparing it to today’s standards where you can get anything you want by walking into a grocery store or ordering from McDonald’s.”

The Food Tasting is part of Elk Island Public School’s First Nation, Métis and Inuit EduKits—modelled after Edmonton Public Schools’ kits containing lesson plans, traditional tools, resources, books and activities for teachers to use to engage in First Nations, Métis, and Inuit education. In addition to the tasting, the Grade 1 class learned more facts about each of the specific foods they tried. For example, at the tea station, students learned how the tea leaves were pick and dried before using. They also got to touch and feel various traditional tools used to hunt food such as an arrowhead made of stone and a fish hook made of bone. To complete the lesson, Vader then read the acclaimed children’s book, Granny’s Giant Bannock, a fun-loving story about an English-speaking boy and his Cree-speaking grandmother with an underlying message about the importance of listening and understanding.

“That lesson around understanding is really what this is all about,” says Vader. “What we want is to create hands-on learning experiences to deepen knowledge and facilitate understanding around Indigenous culture, perspectives and history that, until now, has largely been untold.”

 

Strathcona Christian Academy Elementary services approximately 575 students in kindergarten to Grade 6 offering instruction with a Christian perspective. Located in Sherwood Park, it’s one of 42 schools within Elk Island Public Schools. For more information about the school visit www.scaelementary.ca.

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For more information contact:
Francis Poole, principal, Strathcona Christian Academy Elementary, 780-449-2787
Laura McNabb, director, Communication Services, EIPS 780-417-8204 cell 780-405-4902