We were honored to host a wonderful web workshop with Tara Myran, Introducing Indigenous Philosophies to Little People through Active Play and Storytelling. In this 60 minute Louise Kool Web Workshop, she shared the experiences, books, and resources she has used to bring the Seven Teachings to children at the University of Winnipeg Child Care Centre.
In a random poll that we took during the workshop, we found that 50% of the attendees have heard of the Seven Teachings but don’t know much about them.
Tara shared her experiences and instructional practices to impart this knowledge with stories, pictures, and songs.
She showed how she engages young children with specific play resources like puppets, felt play sets and figurines. Some of these resources are available from LKG and can be found in our Indigenous collection at LKG: https://louisekool.com/collections/indigenous
Tapping into creativity and imagination of the children, she uses colouring activities to reinforce concepts. You can find free colouring activities for ages from toddler to adult, many by well-known First Nations’ artists, on these links:
After the session we had a few people reach out, asking if Tara could provide some more examples and ideas for how she initially engages children in the Seven Sacred Teaching with animals.
“With the puppet animals I relate the 7 Teachings to an activity or characteristic of the animal. Some concepts are harder to explain to a child, but we still recite the word together and introduce the word to the children.
Seven Sacred Teachings:
Bear - Courage:
Analogy - I express how if a Mama Bear were to see her cub in any danger, she is going to use all her courage to protect her baby cub.
Turtle – Truth:
Knowing that the children I am working with may not comprehend what truth is, I explain how truth is used in a good way -- to always speak from your heart with the truth.
Eagle – Love:
“Please tell me someone or something that you love when it is your turn to hold the eagle.”
Wolf – Humility:
The teaching behind this concept is a tougher one. I just talk about how the wolf travels in packs.
Sabe – (Bigfoot) Honesty:
I talk about this and show a picture and we color it (there is no puppet animal for this one).
Beaver - Wisdom:
Here I talk about the importance of Elders and all the knowledge and wisdom that they carry throughout their lives and how we respect them
Buffalo -- Respect
This one I spend a little more time on because this teaching of respect is used all the time. It is important for children to always be respectful when we are doing sharing circles, storytelling, and activities.
I do this with the rest of the animals of the Seven Teachings within my area. Anyone can adapt this to the Seven Teachings that are within their area once they know which animals are used and what the teaching is.”
Links to Free Resources
There are numerous online materials that can guide research, inform how to connect with First Nations communities and inspire further reflection.
Below, are some of the websites that Tara suggested, we found and attendees shared during the Web Workshop.
- Free teaching resources from Orca Books: https://www.orcabook.com/orca-teacher-resources.aspx
- Free posters explaining the Seven Sacred Teachings and the associated animals presented by Dakota Ojibiway Child & Family Services https://www.docfs.org/ .
- Map of traditional First Nations territories and Territory Acknowledgement Guide. https://native-land.ca/
- The National Association of Friendship Centres, a network of over 100 Friendship Centres and Provincial/Territorial Associations. Find and connect with a local Friendship Centre; Indigenous owned and operated civil society community hubs offering programs, services and supports to urban Indigenous people. https://nafc.ca/?lang=en
- Free eBooks from Indigenous Corporate Training Inc. Including a Guide to Terminology and Pledges of Reconciliation, by Bob Josesph author of the national bestseller 21 Things You May Not Know About the Indian Act https://www.ictinc.ca/free-ebooks
- CRE (Canadian Roots Exchange) builds bridges between Indigenous and non-Indigenous youth in Canada by facilitating dialogue and strengthening relationships through leadership programs. https://canadianroots.ca/
Missed the Web Workshop? No worries -- CLICK here to view the recording of Introducing Indigenous Philosophies to Little People through Active Play and Storytelling.
Found a site or a resource that you think might be helpful for early years educators, post in the comments below!