Medicine Wheel Garden
To explore plants that are native to Ontario and how they are used by our First Nations and Metis communities. By presenting these plants in the form of a medicine wheel garden, it will provide an ongoing learning tool for students to connect to the teachings of the Anishnaabeg people, of whose traditional land our school is situated on. The plants chosen will also be a wonderful source for our pollinators!
The garden will act as a natural and peaceful outdoor learning space. In addition to caring for the garden, students will be able to engage in learning activities with a holistic view. They will become more familiar with the medicine wheel and how everything in life is connected, including the four directions and the stages of life, helping to promote balance in our lives.
Our kindergarten class was involved in all stages of the garden, which included: planning the size of the garden by mapping it out in the classroom, choosing the right spot for it in the yard (considering factors such as accessibility, sunlight, elevation, etc.) and then seeking approval from our principal, Mrs. O’Brien. They then investigated a very wide variety of plants that matched colours for each quadrant of the garden (white, yellow, red/pink, and purple). Students had to determine whether they were native to Turtle Island and were drought and sun tolerant. Once the plant list was finalized, the students then sorted them by mature size, determining where they should be planted (front, middle, and back of the beds).
Materials were sourced out and we received some very generous donations from the community, including mulch and compost from the county, gardening materials from our local hardware store as well as plants and materials from families.
Our grade 5/6 buddy class joined us to lay the landscaping fabric, build the garden beds (lining them up in the four directions; north, east, south and west), add soil, mulch, compost and then finally, plant the plants. During recess time, we even had some students from other classes show interest and join in on some of the work!
So much learning was happening throughout the entire process and will continue year after year! The garden is ready! A few more plants will be added. We will continue to care for it and add informative plaques.
Reflection & Celebration
We plan to have each class in our school paint rocks according to the colours of the medicine wheel and represent the teachings of each quadrant. These will be presented to the garden with a gathering on National Indigenous People’s Day on June 21st.
We are so grateful for the funding from LSF and community donations to help us successfully implement our plan!